Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in which a person faces difficulty falling asleep. The person also faces challenges in staying asleep and wakes up too early. Due to this, people who have insomnia feel restlessness and lethargy throughout the day.
Almost one in seven adults has chronic insomnia. Insomnia affects women more than men due to the hormonal changes that women experience. One in four women experiences insomnia or the symptoms of insomnia. Older women and people who undergo severe stress are at a higher risk of developing insomnia.
The symptoms of insomnia include trouble falling asleep, lethargy, problems in concentrating, changes in mood, irritability, tiredness, slow memory retention, and poor performance.
There are two types of insomnia, i.e., primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. In primary insomnia, a person suffers from sleep-related problems that are not a side effect of any other medical condition. The sleep disturbances in primary insomnia are not the cause of any other medical disease, whereas secondary insomnia occurs as a side effect of other health-related problems.
The cause of primary insomnia is not known. Secondary insomnia includes acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Different medical conditions and diseases can cause secondary insomnia. Apart from medical illnesses, pregnancy, drugs, uncomfortable sleeping environment, and mental dissatisfaction are also the primary causes of secondary insomnia.
The acute type of insomnia can either be short-lasting or long-lasting. Its duration may be from one night to some weeks. Most people experience this type of insomnia, but it gets better on its own and does not require any medical treatment.
Different factors, including stress, medications, caffeine, nicotine, diseases such as sleep apnea, or disruption of the normal sleep cycle, can cause acute insomnia. Acute insomnia usually does not require any treatment. Going to bed early, avoiding tea or coffee before going to bed, and sleeping in a comfortable room helps in preventing and curing insomnia. Listening to soothing music can also induce sleep.
In chronic insomnia, a person has episodes of insomnia lasting three nights per week for three months or for longer than three months. Psychiatric problems mostly cause chronic insomnia. Therefore, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or severe stressful conditions can cause chronic insomnia.
The treatment of chronic insomnia consists of finding the root cause of the problem causing insomnia in the first place. Some drugs help in avoiding lethargy caused by insomnia. Sleeping pills can have adverse effects. Therefore, patients should not take sleeping pills without a doctor’s prescription. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, along with the medicines prescribed by the doctor, is also useful in treating chronic insomnia.
Proper sleep is necessary for maintaining health. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of several diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity. It can also cause a person to age rapidly. It also impairs a person’s cognitive abilities, concentration, and learning. Difficulty in memory retention also occurs. Therefore if you have the symptoms of insomnia, you need to visit a doctor to get rid of it or to make it better as soon as possible.