What Causes Insomnia?

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleeping problem in which a person feels difficulty in falling asleep. It may be for the short term or long term. It may also just come and go. Insomnia is acute when it lasts for one night within a week, and it is chronic when it happens at least for three nights within three months.

What are the types of insomnia?

Insomnia is of two types-:

  1. Primary insomnia
  2. Secondary insomnia

Primary insomnia – when your sleeping problem is not linked with your health condition, then that situation is called primary insomnia.

Secondary insomnia – when your sleeping problem is linked with your health condition like asthma, depression, cancer, and heartburn. Then that situation is called secondary insomnia.

The case of secondary insomnia also arises when you are using a substance like alcohol, pain medication, etc.

What are the causes of insomnia?

The purposes of primary insomnia are-:

  • Stress-related to essential events.
  • Stress for job loss
  • Death of loved ones.
  • Divorce
  • Noise
  • High beam light
  • Temperature
  • Change in shift at work
  • Any of bad habit
  • Jet lag
  • Tension
  • Thoughts about past events
  • Worrying about future events
  • Overwhelmed by responsibilities
  • Feeling of being revved up or overstimulated

The causes of secondary insomnia are-:

  • Mental health issue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Medication for colds
  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Problem related to blood pressure like high blood pressure
  • Pain at night
  • Discomfort at night
  • Consumption of caffeine
  • Consumption of tobacco
  • Use of alcohol
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Endocrine problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sleep disorder
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Disruptions in circadian rhythm
  • Psychological issues
  • Medical conditions
  • Hormone shifts during menstruation
  • Estrogen
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Angina
  • Acid-reflux disease (GERD)

What are the insomnia risk factors?

The risk factors of insomnia are mentioned below-:

  • Insomnia affects women more than men.
  • Insomnia affects older people more than younger ones.
  • Youngsters of African Americans have a higher risk of insomnia.

Other risk factors of insomnia include-:

  • Long-term illness
  • Mental health issues
  • Working night shifts
  • Rotation of shifts
  • The elderly
  • Users of illegal drugs
  • Adolescent
  • Young adult students
  • Pregnant women
  • Menopausal women
  • Travelers

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

The symptoms of insomnia are as follows-:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty in focusing on tasks
  • Difficulty in remembering
  • Increased errors
  • Accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep
  • Difficulty in personal relationships,
  • Difficulty at work
  • Difficulty in school
  • Non-restorative sleep
  • Mood disturbance
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Fatigue
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning

Call your doctor immediately when you observe the following points in you-:

  • If you find a problem while sleeping without any cause for continuously for more than one month.
  • If you watch severe snoring.
  • If you fall asleep without warning in the daytime.
  • If you stop breathing for a while during sleeping at night.
  • If the medicine for insomnia you are taking is not working correctly.
  • If you do not get enough sleep during day or night.

Diagnosis of insomnia

The diagnosis of insomnia depends on your condition. Its diagnosis and search for its cause depends upon the following factors.

  • Physical exam
  • Sleep habits review
  • Sleep study

Physical exam – when the sign of insomnia is unknown, the doctor will do the physical exam to look for the sign of a problem that is related to insomnia. Blood tests may be done to check the thyroid, which may be the reason for the problem related to insomnia.

Sleep habits review – After asking sleeping related questions, the doctor will conduct a questionnaire on the pattern of your sleeping routine and the level of sleepiness in the daytime. He will suggest you to prepare a record of your sleep for some weeks.

Sleep study – In case the reason for insomnia is not apparent to the doctor, or there are some other signs of sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, restless and legs syndrome, etc. then you are suggested to spend some nights in the sleep center. Various tests are done to keep an eye on you and record your body activities while you are sleeping, including breathing, heartbeat, eye movements, and body movements.

Treatment of insomnia

Changing your sleeping habits and any issues that are related to insomnia like stress, medical conditions, or medications can help you in peaceful sleep.

If this does not work then, then the doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and some remedies to assist in improving your sleeping related problems.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia helps you in controlling and eliminating negative thoughts that cause sleeping problems. This is the first treatment for the problem related to insomnia. It is as effective as other sleeping treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you to develop a good sleeping habit that keeps you fresh, and you can have a good sleep.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia strategies include-:

  • Stimulus control therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Sleep restriction
  • Remaining passively awake
  • Light therapy

Stimulus control therapy- This helps you in removing the factors that keep you awake.

Relaxation techniques – There are some ways like progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, and breathing exercises, which help you in reducing anxiety during sleep. While practicing these techniques aids in controlling the birthrate, heart rate, muscle tension, and mood so that you can feel relax and take a nap.

Sleep restriction- This technique helps you in decreasing the time of activities that you do to avoid taking a nap.

Remaining passively awake – It is also called paradoxical intention. This technique helps you in reducing the anxiety and worry, which helps in getting the sleep early and reducing the problems related to insomnia.

Light therapy – This therapy helps you in falling asleep soon.

Your doctor may recommend you some other strategies depending upon your lifestyle and sleep environment.

 Prescription medications

  • Eszopiclone
  • Lunesta
  • Ramelteon
  • Rozerem
  • Zaleplon
  • Sonata
  • Zolpidem
  • Ambien
  • Edluar
  • Intermezzo
  • Zolpimist

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