Anyone can experience insomnia.
Factors such as diet, anxiety, stress or jet lag can affect your ability to experience healthy sleep.
In fact, Insomnia symptoms occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population while Chronic Insomnia disorder that is associated with distress or impairment is estimated at 10% to 15%. People with insomnia can’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get enough restful slumber.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go. Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
Over time, lack of sleep can lead to health problems like diabetes, hypertension and weight gain. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.
Types of Insomnia
You can have:
✓ Maintenance insomnia, inability to stay asleep
✓ Onset insomnia, difficulty falling asleep
✓ Comorbid insomnia, associated with another disorder
✓ Acute insomnia, lasts a day or days, or weeks
✓ Chronic insomnia, lasts a month or longer
What are the Causes and risk factors of Insomnia?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source list these risk factors for insomnia:
Age. You’re more likely to have insomnia as you grow older.
Family history and genetics. Certain genes may affect sleep patterns.
Environment. Shift work, night work, and jet lag can affect the sleep-wake cycle as well as nighttime noise or light and uncomfortably high or low temperatures.
Stress. Worry raises the risk of insomnia. Worrying about not getting enough sleep can make it worse.
Sex. More women than men get insomnia, possibly due to hormonal changes. Pregnancy and menopause can also play a role.
Other lifestyle factors that increase the risk for insomnia include:
✓ Changing your sleep routine often.
✓ Being interrupted during sleep.
✓ Taking long naps during the day.
✓ Not getting enough exercise.
✓ Using caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or certain drugs.
✓ Using electronic devices too close to bedtime.
What are the Symptoms of Insomnia?
Insomnia symptoms may include:
✓ 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 or sleepiness
✓ Irritability, depression or anxiety
™ Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
✓ Increased errors or accidents
✓ Ongoing worries about sleep
What are the complications of insomnia?
Over time, lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can negatively affect your physical and mental health. Insomnia can contribute to:
✓ Driving accidents, injuries and falls.
✓ High blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and stroke.
✓ Mood disorders.
✓ Weight gain and obesity
How Can You Prevent Insomnia?
Good sleep habits can help prevent insomnia and promote sound sleep:
1. Keep your bedtime and wake time consistent from day to day, including weekends.
2. Stay active — regular activity helps promote a good night’s sleep.
3. Check your medications to see if they may contribute to insomnia.
3. Avoid or limit naps.
4. Avoid large meals and beverages before bedtime.
5. Make your bedroom comfortable for sleep and only use it for sex or sleep.
6 Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as taking a warm bath, reading or listening to soft music.
7. Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol, and don’t use nicotine.
What are the ways you can treat Insomnia?
There are many strategies for treating insomnia. Before you talk to your doctor about medications, try making lifestyle changes.
1. Melatonin supplements
This over-the-counter hormone can help regulate sleep by telling your body that it’s time for bed. Higher melatonin levels make you feel sleepier, but too much can disrupt your sleep cycle and cause headaches, nausea, and irritability. Adults can take between 1 and 5 milligrams, an hour before bed. Talk to your doctor about dosage before taking melatonin, especially for children.
2. Sleep medication
Talk to your doctor about sleep medications if lifestyle changes aren’t working. Your doctor will look for underlying causes and may prescribe sleep medication. They’ll also tell you how long you should take it. It’s not recommended to take sleeping pills on a long-term basis.
When to see a doctor!
When to see a doctor
If insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day, see your doctor to identify the cause of your sleep problem and how it can be treated. If your doctor thinks you could have a sleep disorder, you might be referred to a sleep center for special testing.
On hubCare, you have quick access to experienced doctors and health professionals for consultation at an affordable price. Talk to one of our doctor’s today and receive quality care for optimum well-being.
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To a better health!
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Sesan Kareem is a public health advocate and writer. His mission is to use his clinical and leadership skills to democratize healthcare for all Africans