What is Insomnia?

September 15, 2021 Brain Diseases 661 Views

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What is the meaning of Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It disturbs a person’s good sleep, and he/she is unable to fall asleep all night. Insomnia makes it hard for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep. Once sleep is interrupted, the person cannot fall asleep again easily. Insomnia makes the person wake up early too.

The person feels very tired during the day due to sleepless nights. Insomnia makes the person weak. 

Let us give you more information about Insomnia.

  • What is Insomnia?
  • What are the causes of Insomnia?
  • What are the risk factors of Insomnia?
  • What are the types of Insomnia?
  • What are the symptoms of Insomnia?
  • What are the treatments for Insomnia?
  • How to prevent Insomnia?
  • What are the complications of Insomnia?
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Insomnia

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It affects millions of people around the world. Insomnia makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Early rise from sleep and inability to sleep again after disturbance of sleep are also features of insomnia.

Insomnia can have extremely bad effects on the health of an individual. In a person suffering from insomnia, there is an increased risk of drowsiness and fatigue during the day, apart from mental and physical illness. Insomnia also causes significant changes in the personality of a person. Sleeplessness makes the person irritable, anxious, and stressed.

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What are the causes of Insomnia?

One of the major causes of insomnia is stress. There are many problems in a person’s life that may account for insomnia. The causes of insomnia are- 

  • The financial condition of the family, the stress of studies and work for students,  exhaustion, feeling worried about health, the shock of a loved one’s death, divorce, accident, etc. can cause stress leading to insomnia.
  • Depressed sleep patterns, such as using a mobile phone after eating food and just before sleeping, sleeping in a chair instead of a bed, working on a bed instead of a chair, doing excruciating tasks before going to sleep are all causes of insomnia.
  • Mental illness can cause insomnia.
  • Insomnia can occur in people taking medicines for blood pressure and asthma.
  • Insomnia starts due to changes in work schedules like changing work shifts repeatedly, traveling in different areas, etc.
  • Chronic illness can cause insomnia.
  • Lack of exercise can also lead to insomnia.
  • Excessive eating in the evening or just before bedtime can lead to insomnia.
  • Alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine consumption can lead to insomnia.

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What are the risk factors of Insomnia?

There are certain risk factors for insomnia. The presence of these risk factors can increase the chances of insomnia. The risk factors include-

  • Age over 60
  • Female gender
  • Existing mental health condition
  • Existing physical health condition
  • Improper work or daily routine schedule
  • Stress due to multiple reasons 

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What are the types of Insomnia?

Insomnia can be of the following types-

  • Short-term or acute insomnia: The cause of this type of insomnia is a traumatic or stressful event, and it lasts for a few days to weeks.
  • Long-term or chronic insomnia: Underlying medical disorders, intake of certain medications are some of the causes that may lead to chronic insomnia. This type of insomnia occurs at least 3 times a week and for more than 3 months.
  • Primary insomnia: When insomnia or sleep disorders are not related to any other medical disorder, this type of insomnia is called primary insomnia.
  • Secondary insomnia: When health conditions like asthma, depression, cancer, heartburn, arthritis; use of certain medications; excessive consumption of alcohol cause sleep disturbances, this type of insomnia is known as secondary insomnia.
  • Paradoxical insomnia: A condition in which an individual underestimates the time that he was asleep and feels that he slept for a time much lesser than he actually did.
  • Sleep-onset insomnia: When an individual has trouble going to sleep it is known as sleep-onset insomnia.
  • Sleep-maintenance insomnia: When one has a problem staying asleep throughout the night or tends to wake up too early the condition is known as sleep-maintenance insomnia.
  • Mixed insomnia: When an individual has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night the condition is known as mixed insomnia.

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What are the symptoms of Insomnia?

The various symptoms of insomnia are-

  • Trouble in falling asleep at night
  • Worrying about something while trying to sleep at night
  • Not being able to focus on a particular task
  • Staying awake during the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Sleepiness and fatigue throughout the day
  • Loss of memory
  • Irritability
  • Inability to socialize much with people 
  • Increased mistakes or accidents in day to day life

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  • Trouble in paying attention or remembering things
  • Not feeling content with night’s sleep the next morning

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What are the treatments for Insomnia?

  • For the treatment of insomnia, the doctor first suggests changing the bedtime and daily habits that can help in getting proper sleep.
  • Self-care should be the number one step in the treatment of insomnia.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine consumption.
  • Doctors use cognitive behavioral therapy for some insomnia patients. This therapy is done in two ways:

1. Cognitive Therapy: This therapy teaches how to recognize and change negative thoughts and reduce the stress that leads to insomnia and sleep disturbances.

2. Behavioral Therapy: This type of therapy helps in avoiding certain bad habits and behaviors that keep one awake at night, and replaces them with better sleep-inducing behavior.

  • In some severe insomnia patients, doctors recommend taking some sedatives or sleep medications such as Eszopiclone Lunesta, Ramelteon-Rozerem, etc, or some antihistamines or antidepressants.

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Do not take any sleep medications without consulting your doctor.

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How to prevent Insomnia?

  • One should wake up and sleep at the right time.
  • Do not use any lights in the bedroom; try to sleep in the dark.
  • To prevent insomnia, do not use your mobile or laptop before sleeping. 
  • Keep the bedroom clean and tidy.
  • Always have your meal two hours before bedtime.
  • Reading or listening to soft music before bedtime helps sleep better.
  • Some severe cases may require medications, so take them carefully only upon the doctor’s prescription.
  • If you have a habit of smoking, change your habit immediately.
  • Insomnia can be prevented with the help of psychologists.

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What are the complications of Insomnia?

It is important for our physical and mental well-being that we get an adequate amount of sleep daily. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances can lead to the following complications-

  • Health diseases and conditions like obesity, depression, diabetes, and a high blood pressure
  • Risk of falling, especially in older age
  • Trouble in concentrating on day to day activities
  • Slowing down of reaction time which may cause accidents and injuries
  • Irritability and anxiousness
  • Weight gain

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on insomnia

Q. Is insomnia a common condition?

Ans. Insomnia and other sleep disorders are very common in adults. About 33% to 50% of the adult population have some type of insomnia symptoms, and about 10% to 15% of the adult population are known to have chronic insomnia.

Q. How many hours of sleep do I need in a day?

Ans. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep at night. However, this varies from person to person. Sound quality of sleep matters as much as the quantity of sleep required.

Q. When should an individual having insomnia call his doctor?

Ans. If an individual with sleep disorders experiences extreme fatigue, irritability, depression, or anxiety; or has difficulty in focusing on simple day-to-day activities; or has sleep-related disorders he should contact a doctor immediately.

We hope that we have answered all your questions regarding Insomnia.

If you suffer from Insomnia and want treatment for the same, then immediately contact a Neurologist.

We only aim to give you information through this article and do not recommend any form of medication or treatment in any way. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and the correct treatment plan.


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