Alternative NamesInsomnia , Poor-quality sleep
What is Insomnia
Insomnia (poor-quality sleep), is a disorder that is difficult to fall asleep, difficult to stay asleep, or both. People with insomnia; usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which loses an ability to function during the day. Insomnia can take not only your energy level and mood but it also influences your health, work performance and quality of life.
Insomnia is divided into 3 categories due to the duration of symptoms :
- Insomnia lasting one week or less may be termed transient insomnia;
- short-term insomnia lasts more than one week but resolves in less than three weeks;
- long-term or chronic insomnia lasts more than three weeks.
Insomnia can also be classified based on the underlying reasons for insomnia such as sleep hygiene, medical conditions, sleep disorders, stress factors, and so on.
Signs and symptoms
The three main types of sleep disturbance are:
- Hard to fall asleep. This is the most common problem
- Hard to stay asleep. Older people are more likely to have this problem
- Early morning awakening. You may wake up early and be unable to get back to sleep. This problem is less common.
You could also have problems during the day because you haven't had enough sleep. You may:
- Feel tired
- Be irritable
- Find it hard to concentrate.
Complications of insomnia may include:
- Lower performance on the job or at school
- Slowed reaction time while driving and higher risk of accidents
- Psychiatric problems, such as depression or an anxiety disorder
- Overweight or obesity
- Poor immune system function
- Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
Insomnia may have many causes and, as described earlier, it can be classified based upon the underlying cause.
Situational and stress factors leading to insomnia may include:
- jet lag,
- physical discomfort (hot, cold, lighting, noise, unfamiliar surroundings),
- working different shifts,
- stressful life situations (divorce or separation, death of a loved one, losing a job, preparing for an examination),
- illicit drug use,
- cigarette smoking,
- caffeine intake prior to going to bed,
- alcohol intoxication or withdrawal,
- certain medications.
There are most common prevention of Insomnia:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
- Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising for 3 hours before the time you go to sleep.
- Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
- Make your sleeping place comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
- Follow a routine to help relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath.
- Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
- If you can't fall asleep and don't feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
- If you have trouble lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to "let go" of those worries overnight.
One of the main treatment of Insomnia is sleeping tablets (hypnotics) and they may be considered:
- if your symptoms are particularly severe
- to help ease short-term insomnia
Sleeping tablets can cause the following side effects:
- a feeling that you're hungover
- drowsiness during the day
It's best to take sleeping tablets at night, before you go to bed. In some people, particularly older people, the hangover effects may last into the next day, so be cautious if you're likely to be driving the next day.
It is important to note that it's very easy to become dependent on sleeping tablets, even after a short-term course.
However, doctors are usually try not to prescribe sleeping tablets as they relieve symptoms but don't treat the cause of your insomnia. If you have long-term insomnia, sleeping tablets dont help. Your doctor may consider referring you to a clinical psychologist to discuss other approaches to treatment.