Everything you need to know about insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which the sufferer has trouble falling and/or staying asleep. This can result in problems with sleep deprivation and sleep loss, because it may cause the sufferer to not get the amount of quality sleep needed. Insomniacs might suffer from daytime fatigue, may not feel refreshed when they wake up, and may suffer from an overall lack of energy.
Insomnia: The basics
There are two different types of insomnia – acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing). These types can be further broken down into what they call ‘primary insomnia’ and ‘secondary insomnia’. Primary insomnia is basically insomnia in which the sufferer’s problems do not directly stem from any other health problem or condition, while secondary insomnia is usually caused by something else (cancer, arthritis, depression, heartburn, asthma, etc.).
What causes it?
Insomnia can be caused by a number of different things. Some medical conditions can cause it, as can medicines, stress, family or work pressure, traumatic events, environmental factors (noise, light, extreme temperatures, etc.), or any number of other things.
Technically, anything that could keep you awake could be a cause for Insomnia, but not all cases are the same, and not all of them care caused by something. In most cases, secondary cases of the condition are easier to figure out, because they can usually be treated by looking at the causes. If someone is having trouble sleeping because of a medication, for example, then their doctor might prescribe them a different medication or something like that.
Primary Insomnia, on the other hand, is often more confusing. It is actually its own distinct disorder, and the causes for it are still not very well understood. In some cases, long-lasting stress or intense emotional trauma can trigger primary insomnia, and some researchers believe that people can be born at an increased risk for it – but alas, this research is still underway, and nobody knows for sure if this is the case.
How is it treated?
More often than not, insomnia is treated by identifying and removing the cause. For example – if an asthma condition is causing someone to lose sleep, then curing or managing the asthma problem will also remove the Insomnia.
If the Insomnia is causing too much daytime fatigue and affecting your life in a negative way, then your doctor might prescribe a sleeping pill – but these pills are often rapid onset, short-acting drugs that won’t make you groggy the next day. Avoid treating your own insomnia with over-the-counter sleeping pills, as these can cause some negative side effects that might make things worse.
Of course, there are some simple common-sense things that you can do to try to beat Insomnia as well. You can get plenty of exercise during the day, cut back on caffeine and nicotine, and drink less alcohol. Sometimes, avoiding naps during the day can also help, as this will make you more likely to be able to fall asleep once bedtime rolls around.
Keeping consistent sleeping hours can also be a big help, as can avoiding heavy meals right before attempting to go to sleep. A light snack, however, might actually help you to fall asleep faster.
Not all cases of Insomnia require medical treatment. Some are very mild and go away on their own. But if your Insomnia persists and begins to impact your day to day life, then you might want to talk to a doctor about it. The worst thing about insomnia is that it affects your quality of sleep – and you need sleep to stay healthy and functional.
Losing too much of it can really impact your life. A loss of energy and an increase in daytime drowsiness could even cause you to suffer at your job – which could impact your livelihood. It can also affect your love-life, relationships, hobbies, and duties as a parent.
Insomnia certainly isn’t something that you have to deal with forever, though. You can fix the problem if you try hard enough – so just talk to your doctor if it’s beginning to affect your life in a negative way.