Due to insufficient and broken sleep, insomniacs usually feel tired when they wake up in the morning. This results in daytime sleepiness, depression, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, irritation, low energy, lethargy. Insomniacs often believe that they are mentally and physically ill. Also, even if they get to sleep, the quality of sleep is usually terrible. The duration of this condition can vary, starting with a few days to weeks or even months.
Three Types of Insomnia
Depending on the duration, insomnia can be characterized by three types: Transient, Acute, and Chronic Insomnia.
Transient Insomnia usually lasts for less than a week. The symptoms typically occur for a few days going up to a week. Anything minor can cause it – a change in sleeping pattern, be it the place or timings. Transient Insomnia leads to sleepiness and psychomotor performance.
Acute Insomnia, which usually lasts for less than a month, is also known as short-term insomnia, or stress-related insomnia. In this case, usually, people have opportunities to sleep, but they still face difficulties in sleeping.
Chronic Insomnia usually lasts for more than a month. It is usually caused due to stress-related problems. It can also lead to double vision and needs proper treatment.
Insomnia is more prevalent in adult women. Usually, travelers, shift workers, drug users, aged people, pregnant and menopausal women, adolescents are more prone to insomnia.
The causes of insomnia can vary – from physical to psychological factors. Though chronic insomnia is caused by various medical conditions such as nasal allergies, asthma, arthritis, gastrointestinal and endocrine problems, low back pain, heart diseases or mental problems, etc, transient insomnia could be caused by things like changing sleep environment, excess worry, more intake of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and jet lag.
Insomnia is diagnosed by the Athens Insomnia Scale. It has eight different parameters related to sleep and is used to assess the overall sleeping pattern of a person. A qualified sleep specialist would start the session by asking numerous questions regarding the sleeping pattern of the patient. Past medical history is also considered for proper diagnosis. Check-up may include physical tests to determine the signs and symptoms and consequences.
Polysomnograph is an overnight sleeping test to determine the sleeping pattern and suggest the proper treatment is done to get rid of the problem. However, to treat any problem, it is important to determine the cause. Some home remedies include -avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol, meditation, muscle relaxation exercises, counseling, avoiding long daytime naps.
There are also some medical treatments such as sleeping pills, antidepressants, melatonin, ramelteon, etc, but these should be taken only after consultation with a medical practitioner.
Insomnia can have multiple effects on our bodies – both physically and mentally. It leads to faulty co-ordination and decreased concentration power. It can also result in increased chances of road accidents. Moreover, insomniacs are more prone to developing certain health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, drug abuse, and obesity.
Pregnant women are more prone to sleeping disorders. It is recommended they try different sleeping positions, healthy eating habits, regular walks, and meditation.
Insomnia can be hard to fight and though there are various things a person can do to help fight it – like trying to sleep and wake up at regular timings, avoiding heavy workouts, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, and also sleeping in a dark room. These can help to a large extent.