Do you wake up too early in the morning or feel tired upon waking? If you have trouble falling or staying asleep during the night, you may have a sleep disorder called Insomnia. People with insomnia often get non-restorative sleep which may lead to mood swings, daytime sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, lethargy, and anxiety.
This common sleep disorder regularly affects millions of people worldwide. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), around one-third of all adults report for insomnia symptoms and 6 to 10 percent of adults have severe symptoms that are diagnosed with insomnia disorder.
The good news is that you can get rid of this sleep disorder and get a good night’s sleep by addressing underlying causes, knowing the symptoms, getting a proper diagnosis and the right treatment from experienced sleep medicine doctor.
Types of Insomnia
A person can have primary insomnia in which the sleep problems are not directly related to other health issues. If sleep problems occur because of other health conditions like asthma, heartburn, arthritis, depression or cancer, a person may be experiencing secondary insomnia. Insomnia is generally categorized into three types:
Acute Insomnia – This is a short-term sleep problem that normally lasts for days or weeks. It is commonly caused due to a traumatic event, work stress, family pressure or travel.
Chronic Insomnia – Also known as ongoing insomnia, it occurs when a person has a persistent sleep problem for a month or longer. Chronic insomnia cases are side effects resulting from other health issues.
Transient Insomnia – This type of insomnia is caused due to a recent event or occurrence. The symptoms last up to three nights a week.
Insomnia Causes & Risk Factors
Certain psychological and physical factors may cause insomnia. Moreover, the cause also depends on the type of sleeplessness you experience. Life stress, illness, changes in sleep habits, emotional or physical discomfort, environmental factors, and certain medications may result in short-term insomnia.
For long-term insomnia, psychological issues, pain or discomfort at night, and chronic stress are to be blamed. In addition to these factors, some common causes of this sleep disorder include:
- Bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression or psychotic disorder
- Changes in estrogen levels or hormonal changes during menstruation.
- Disruptions in circadian rhythm due to extreme heat or cold, changes in a work routine, environmental noise, and high altitudes.
- Chronic pain, obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea or any other medical conditions.
People with the following risk factors are more likely to have this sleep disorder.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lower income
- High-stress level
- Traveling to different time zones
- Emotional Disorders
Signs & Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia generally affects daytime working negatively. If you are experiencing insomnia, you may report for one or more of the following symptoms.
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Sleepiness during the day
- Waking early in the morning
- Daytime tiredness
These signs can lead to other symptoms, including:
- Mood Swings
- Poor concentration and memory
- Anxiety or depression
- Increased accidents or errors
- Worrying about sleeping
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Tension headaches
How to Diagnose & Fight Insomnia?
There are various tests and methods used by sleep doctors to help diagnose and treat this sleep disorder.
If you suspect insomnia, talk to your sleep medicine physician for getting a proper diagnosis. A specialist will ask questions about your medical history and sleep patterns. He/she may conduct a physical exam to rule out the problems that might cause this sleep disorder. You may be asked to keep a diary to keep track of your sleep patterns and the way you feel throughout the daytime.
Your sleep specialist may check you for insomnia if you are experiencing sleep disturbances for more than a month and this problem is negatively impacting your wellbeing. Your doctor may look out for psychiatric disorders, and consumption of alcohol and a drug. Other tests may include polysomnography, an overnight sleep test for recording sleep patterns. Additionally, a small, wrist-worn device called an antigraph may be used to measure sleep-wake patterns and movements.
When insomnia is a symptom of another problem, the underlying cause is properly treated or corrected to fight insomnia. Additionally, doctors may use both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments as therapies for this sleep disorder. Acute insomnia may get resolved without any treatment. Good sleep habits can prevent or cure mild insomnia.
If this sleeping disease hinders your daily functions, you may be advised for medical pharmacological treatments including sleeping pills, antihistamines, ramelteon, over-the-counter medicines, antidepressants, and melatonin. For chronic insomnia, your sleep doctor may take a non-pharmaceutical approach by suggesting cognitive behavioral therapy. Sleep hygiene treatment may also be advised to help you change disruptive behaviors.
If you want to beat insomnia and promote sound sleep, visit Artisans of Medicine today! Our sleep medicine physicians in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, NYC can help treat your sleep problem and provide expert preventative tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.