People nowadays face a lot of health issues due to excessive stress, change in food habits and lack of exercise.

The change in lifestyle results in the rise of innumerable diseases and of them one issue is insomnia, which is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up.

Changing lifestyles, work profiles, eating habits, leisure activities and different life stress influence sleep patterns. People suffering from insomnia can’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get enough restful slumber. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to health problems like diabetes, hypertension and weight gain. Behavioural and lifestyle changes can improve your rest. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sleeping pills can be consumed to get proper sleep.

There are different kinds of Insomnia. Insomnia can come and go, or it may be an ongoing, longstanding issue. There is short-term insomnia and chronic insomnia:

  1. Short-term insomnia tends to last for a few days or weeks and is often triggered by stress.
  2. Chronic insomnia is when sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or longer.

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%.

Symptoms

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
  • Feeling tired/fatigued during the daytime.
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

Causes

Many things can contribute to the development of insomnia including environmental, physiological and psychological factors:

  • Life stressors include your job, relationships, financial difficulties and more.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits.
  • Anxiety disorders, depression and/or other mental health issues.
  • Chronic diseases like cancer.
  • Chronic pain due to arthritis, fibromyalgia or other conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn.
  • Hormone fluctuations due to menstruation, menopause, thyroid disease or other issues.
  • Medications and other substances.
  • Neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

Risk factors

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. But your risk of insomnia is greater if:

  •  Woman Pregnancy and hormonal shifts are common factors that lead to insomnia. Hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle and in menopause may play a role. During menopause, night sweats and hot flashes often disrupt sleep.
  • Over age 60 – Older people may be less likely to sleep soundly because of bodily changes related to ageing and because they may have medical conditions or take medications that disturb sleep.
  • Mental health disorder or physical health condition Many issues that impact your mental or physical health can disrupt sleep.
  • Stress  Stressful times and events can cause temporary insomnia. And major or long-lasting stress can lead to chronic insomnia.
  • Change in schedule –For example, changing shifts at work or travelling can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.

Effects

Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Whatever your reason for sleep loss, insomnia can affect you both mentally and physically. People with insomnia report a lower quality of life compared with people who are sleeping well.

Complications of insomnia may include:

  • Lower performance on the job or at school
  • Slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression, an anxiety disorder or substance abuse
  • Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease

Prevention

Good sleep habits can help prevent insomnia and promote sound sleep:

  • Keep your bedtime and wake time consistent from day to day, including weekends.
  • Stay active — regular activity helps promote a good night’s sleep.
  • Check your medications to see if they may contribute to insomnia.
  • Avoid or limit naps.
  • Cut back on caffeine, including coffee, sodas and chocolate, throughout the day and especially at night.
  • Avoid large meals and beverages before bedtime.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Turn your bedroom into a dark, quiet, cool sanctuary.
  • Unwind with soothing music, a good book or meditation.

Treatment of Insomnia

Short-term insomnia often gets better on its own. For chronic insomnia, your healthcare provider may recommend:

•          Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: Therapy (CBT-I): CBT-I is a brief, structured intervention for insomnia that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviours that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.

•          Medications: Behavior and lifestyle changes can best help you improve your sleep over the long term. In some cases, though, taking sleeping pills for a short time can help you sleep. Doctors recommend taking sleep medicines only now and then or only for a short time. They are not the first choice for treating chronic insomnia.

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