To be an insomniac, a patient would have difficulty sleeping and difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia affects millions of people worldwide, and ultimately impairs the individual from performing daily activities because of their drowsiness and delirium.
Insomnia can be categorized into two types:
- Primary insomnia, which is not affiliated with other health issues.
- Secondary insomnia, which can develop due to the of influence medications and other health conditions, such as depression, arthritis and cancer.
Different types of insomnia can persist for different periods of time:
- Acute insomnia, which is a short-term condition that lasts from one night to a few weeks.
- Chronic insomnia, which may last from two to three weeks, or even months.
Acute insomnia can be caused by a number of factors:
- Sudden and extreme stress, such as a career change or the death of a loved one
- Physical discomfort due to an illness or disorder
- Uncomfortable and extreme temperatures
- Certain medications
- Jet lag
Chronic insomnia, however, can be caused by depression, stress, pain, or discomfort during sleep.
Insomnia is found to be more common as you age because of the changes in your sleeping patterns, daily activities and your overall health. Although older people require the same amount of sleep compared to their younger counterparts, sleeping becomes difficult with age. Adults often feel tired and exhausted earlier in the evening, which makes them wake up earlier in the morning. With aging, people are prone to do less activity, which can directly affect an individual's sleeping pattern. Chronic pain associated with conditions, like arthritis and fibromyalgia, affects the quality and quantity of sleep. Other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, also can be common as someone ages.
The following are factors that depict the causes for insomnia:
- Gender: Insomnia is found to be more common among women than men. One cause that's common among all women is menopause, where they would have difficulty sleeping due to night sweats and hot flashes while they're asleep.
- Mental disorders: Mental conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all known to affect an individual's sleep.
- Stress: If an individual is dwelling on the past, or living in a highly stressful environment, they will have difficulty sleeping.
To properly diagnose a patient with insomnia, one must complete a full physical examination and undergo a sleep study to monitor sleeping patterns. Moreover, to keep track of your sleeping pattern on your own, keep a sleep journal by your bedside to record each time you wake up or have difficulty falling asleep.
Acute insomnia often does not require any specific treatments. However, with chronic insomnia, a doctor may recommend treatment for the underlying condition that caused your restless nights. Behavioral therapy is also suggested for the treatment of this sleep disorder.
- There are multiple types of insomnia: acute and chronic.
- An individual's gender, mental disorder, or stress level can influence this condition.
- Insomnia can be easily treated if an individual is willing to seek help.