What is Insomnia and its Symptoms?

What is Insomnia and its Symptoms?

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders that can be easily recognized by the following symptoms:-

  • Facing difficulty in falling asleep during the night,
  • Waking too early or in the middle of night and trying harder to fall asleep,
  • Tossing & turning the whole night,
  • Troubling to fall asleep at bedtime,
  • Tiredness or feeling sleepy throughout the day,
  • Not able to focus on assigned tasks or any activity,
  • Getting worried about sleep,

 

As a result, you might start facing other symptoms related to a sleep disorder that includes:

  • Mood swings,
  • Fatigue,
  • Irritation,
  • Difficulty in concentration or memory,

 

    Quality Sleep is essential to keeping ourselves healthy. Not getting enough sleep affects your mental and physical health, performance, and quality of life. 

    Let’s see how severe is insomnia with research findings:-

    • Around one-third of all adults have been reported with insomnia symptoms,

     

    • 6 to 10 per cent of adults have to consult with specialists for insomnia disorder.

     

      Types of Insomnia 

      Specialists have identified Insomnia in different ways; depending on specific health conditions and characteristics:- 

      Short/ Acute term insomnia tends to stay for a few weeks or days as it is usually because of stress. 

      Chronic Insomnia is a type of Insomnia that affects the individual sleeping pattern at least three times a week that lasts for three months or longer. 

      Onset Insomnia refers to difficulty in falling asleep during bedtime. It happens due to caffeine intake, mental health issues, or some other insomnia causes, but it can also worsen with other sleeping disorders. 

      Maintenance Insomnia refers to trouble falling asleep at bedtime or waking up too early in daily routine. This type of Insomnia might happen because of underlying health and mental health conditions - but worrying about sleep can worsen the situation. 

      Behavioural Insomnia is mostly prevalent in children and is characterised by refusal to go to bed or getting difficulty falling asleep, or both. Children with these health conditions can develop habits to learn self-soothing strategies and follow a consistent bedtime routine. 

      Insomnia Causes 

      Insomnia can develop because of many factors, including environmental, physiological and psychological. Causes of Insomnia are as follows:- 

      • Stress caused by some big life changing events such as lost job, death of a loved one, divorce, relationship issues, financial issues and more. 

       

      • Unhealthy lifestyle and sleeping habits such as eating heavy food late in the evening.

       

      • Surroundings like light, noise and temperature.

       

      • Change in sleeping pattern because of shift at work or other routine changes.

       

      • Family History or Genes. It is founded in research that Insomnia may develop because of genetic predisposition.

       

      • Psychological issues like anxiety, depression and other mental health condition.

       

      • Chronic pain as of arthritis, fibromyalgia and other underlying conditions.

       

      • Other health conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

       

      • Neurological issues due to Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.

       

      • Other sleeping disorders like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

       

      • Hormonal problems like menopause, menstruation, thyroid or other health conditions.

       

      Insomnia Risk factors 

      Mostly everyone has to deal with sleeping issues during bedtime. But your risk factor of Insomnia is more significant if you fall in the below category:-

      Woman: Hormonal changes during menopause and menstruation may affect sleep due to night sweats and hot sleep. Pregnant women can also have to deal with Insomnia. 

      Age more than 60: As the age increases, chances of Insomnia are higher as it happens due to changes in sleeping habits and health conditions. 

      Mental Health Conditions: Mental and Physical health conditions are also the reasons for disrupting sleep during the night. 

      Stress: Stressful times and events can develop temporary Insomnia, while major or long-lasting stress can contribute to chronic Insomnia.

      Not a fixed schedule - If working hours aren't fixed, and you have to travel a lot for work purposes - this can influence your sleep pattern. 

      Insomnia Diagnosis

      When you visit a doctor for consultation, he will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history and sleeping patterns.

      He will suggest you make a diary to note down your sleeping habits and how you feel throughout the day. They can ask how many hours of sleep you & your bed partner are talking during the night. He will also suggest performing some sleep tests at the examination center.

      Insomnia Treatment

      Treatment of insomnia may vary from type to type.

      Acute insomnia does not require any treatment.

      While dealing with insomnia, it's difficult to perform everyday activities as you feel tired during the daytime. To deal with this, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for the time being. It's true that these types of medicines work quickly but can create problems like dizziness the next day.

      Avoid using sleeping pills for the long term as they tend to be less effective and may have counter effects.

      For chronic insomnia, you will need treatment for the health problems that keep you awake during the night. Your doctor can also suggest behavioural therapy.

      Insomnia Complications 

      Sleep is essential for the body and brain to function correctly. People with insomnia report a lower quality of life than people sleeping well. Whatever be the reason for sleep loss, insomnia can affect you mentally and physically. You may face complications related to insomnia -

      • Concentration or focusing issues,
      • Lower performance at work or school,
      • Mental health issues like anxiety disorder, depression,
      • Higher risk of falling if you are an older woman,
      • Increased chances of health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and heart diseases,
      • Grumpiness,
      • Dizziness.

       

        Insomnia Prevention 

        Following good sleep habits and lifestyle changes in your daily routine helps beat insomnia. Following are tips:- 

        • Try to avoid caffeine like chocolates, coffee and carbohydrate drinks before bedtime.

         

        • Follow a consistent bedtime & waketime routine respectively for night & morning.

         

        • Try to avoid taking naps during the day as it makes you awake during the night.

         

        • Don't eat heavy meals before bedtime.

         

        • Make your bedroom dark, set the right temperature and use it only for sleep and sex. 

         

        • Before jumping to bed, don't use smartphones, televisions, or other electronic gadgets. 

         

        • If troubling to fall asleep during bedtime, get up and start doing something like reading, listening to music, etc., until you feel sleepy.

         

          Summary

          Insomnia is one of the commonly found sleep disorders. You must consult with a doctor if troubling to fall asleep for long months or weeks. Sleep is the most important for body and mind, as this is performing all the major activities.