Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments That Will Help You Sleep

Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments That Will Help You Sleep

Dec 16, 2018

Just one night of poor-quality sleep can make you feel miserable, never mind weeks or months suffering from insomnia. The debilitating condition can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health.

What Is Insomnia: Defining Both Acute and Chronic Insomnia

A common sleep disorder, insomnia is simply the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. This complex medical condition is also characterized by waking to early many mornings. Insomnia can be acute or chronic. If you deal with short bouts of sleep disturbances that are acute insomnia. This type might last for a single night. Once the underlying cause is addressed, the problem disappears. But if the problem goes untreated it may lead to long-lasting chronic insomnia. Most people experience acute insomnia from time to time.

Longer lasting periods of sleep deprivation is chronic insomnia. This can be more than three days a week over three months. People who suffer from chronic insomnia report difficulty performing daily functions due to irritability, sleepiness, a lack of focus, anxiety, or memory issues.

Typically, short-term insomnia can be resolved without the aid of a professional. However, that is not the case with chronic insomnia. Sufferers must work with a qualified professional to determine the underlying cause and stop the condition from worsening and thus become harder to resolve.

What Causes Insomnia? Stress, Other Medical Problems, and More

There isn’t just one factor that leads to insomnia, it can be the result of multiple causes.

Problem sleep is often caused by:

    • Common medical conditions, including arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, neurological complications, and sleep apnea
    • Inconsistent or irregular sleep schedule
    • Jet lag
    • Medication
    • Poor dietary habits, such as consuming too much alcohol or caffeine, or eating heavy meals too close to bedtime
    • Psychiatric conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia

Tobacco use

To understand the causes and development of insomnia sleep experts tend to rely on the Spielman 3-P Model of Insomnia. This tool helps medical providers track various factors that may trigger poor sleep patterns and possibly point toward contributing causes. The following bullet points explain what each P stands for and how each may contribute to the loss of sleep:

  • Predisposing Factors: Any biological or psychological factors that make you more lose sleep. Influences include being female, anxiety, hyperarousal and family history. Type A personalities fall into this category.
  • Precipitating Factors: Medical, psychological and environmental factors, and life events can set off acute insomnia. For example, if you are overstressed at work, living with chronic pain, depression or sleep apnea all can precipitate the problem.
  • Perpetuating Factors: These are counterproductive action that fuels insomnia instead of correcting the problem. By napping during the day or waking up later in the morning, this can make it more difficult to sleep at night. In addition, people who suffer from insomnia tend to become anxious around bedtime, fear of not sleeping, and how the sleep loss will impact their daytime routines. For most folks with sleep problems, it’s a number of factors from each of these categories that contribute to insomnia.

Is It Insomnia? When to Talk to Your Doctor About Sleep Problems

It usually is not too hard to diagnose insomnia. Most patients recognize that they aren’t sleeping well. Others may be in denial they have the condition. They may attribute the daily fatigue to overscheduling, health issues or too much work.

Oddly enough, this particular group will manage to perform well on cognitive performance exams. They may achieve the same score as individuals who get quality sleep. How can that be? Well, people who don’t sleep well for a long time they get used to it, they learn to adapt. These individuals don’t realize just how wiped out they are and how sleep deprived they have become. They don’t get hit with realization until they get treatment.

Talk to your doctor if your sleep patterns have gotten out of control. Your physician can refer you to a good sleep expert who can address insomnia. Anyone can get better sleep with proper treatment and the right habits. You will have energy, be more productive and be much healthier.

December 16, 2018

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