- n What exactly is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you face trouble falling and staying asleep. The condition can be short-term also called as acute or can last a long time also called as chronic.
· Types of Insomnia
– This means your sleep problems aren’t connected to any other health problem.
– This means your sleep problems are linked to a health condition (like depression, arthritis, asthma, cancer, or heartburn); pain; medication; or substance abuse like alcohol.
· Subtypes of insomnia
– Acute insomnia is usually caused by a circumstantial situation, such as a stressful change in your job, personal problems in your life, emotional instability. The good news is acute insomnia resolves without any medical treatment.
A long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. Chronic Insomnia is usually chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for three or more nights per week for three months or longer.
Insomnia that occurs with another condition. Psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety are known to be associated with changes in sleep. Certain ailments can either cause a sleeping disorder or make an individual awkward around evening time (on account of joint inflammation or back torment, which may make it difficult to rest.
Difficulty falling asleep at the initial period of the night.
The inability to stay asleep. People suffering from maintenance insomnia wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty sleep again.
n Causes of primary insomnia:
· Stress related to life events, like a job loss or extreme pressure on the job, the death of a close one, marital instability, etc.
· Environmental causes like light, noise, or unpleasant weather.
· Changes in sleep schedule like jet lag, shift change at work, or wrong habits you picked up when you already had other sleep problems.
n Causes of secondary insomnia include:
· Mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
· Medications for fever, cold, allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma.
· Abuse of Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol.
Other rest issues, similar to rest apnea or anxious legs disorder.
(Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you start and stop breathing repeatedly.)
n Diagnosis of Insomnia
· There was a study published on how to evaluate the type of Insomnia by author Dr. Sahoo Saddichha who is a psychiatrist, which is referred in the below table.
Primary area of focus
What is the nature and severity of the problem?
Ø Do you have difficulty primarily in
· falling asleep
· staying asleep
· waking too early
Ø Do you have trouble going back to sleep if you wake during the night?
Ø Do you take any drugs/medications to help you sleep?
Ø What are the day time consequences of your sleep problem? (e.g., fatigue, irritability, difficulty in concentration etc.)
Ø How many nights per week/month does your insomnia occur? Is it related to season, menstrual cycle or any other cyclical factors?
Is the patient’s environment disturbing?
Ø Is there anything in your home that disturbs your sleep such as loud TV, pets, infants, noise, lights, etc.?
What is the patient’s sleep routine?
Ø At what time do you get into bed and try to sleep?
Ø At what time do you get up in the morning?
Ø How many hours in the night do you actually sleep (out of total time spent in bed)?
Ø Is your occupation timings causing the sleep problems? (work schedule, shift duty, jet lag etc.)
Ø Do you sleep during the day or evening?
Identify maladaptive behaviors
Ø Do you consume nicotine, tea/coffee, or alcohol prior to sleep?
Ø What do you do each night before going to bed?
Ø When you wake up in the night, do you eat/smoke/check the clock?
So, once you identify what class of insomnia you are suffering from you can get the right treatment.
- Insomnia treatment
In this article we will discuss treatment only on Primary Insomnia and that too self-treatment. For Secondary Insomniac problem we highly recommend you to see a professional Doctor.
Self- treatment for Primary Insomnia:
- Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Enhance sleep environment dark, quiet, cool temperature.
- Increment introduction to brilliant light during the day.
- Practice meditation and relaxing routine.
- Reduce time in bed; regular sleep/wake cycle.
- Incorporate regular exercise in the morning or afternoon or evening.
- Watching the clock
- Using stimulants (e.g.: Caffeine, nicotine, particularly near bed time).
- Consume a heavy meal or alcohol within 3 hours of bed.
- Using bright lights during the night, avoid TV, computers, e-gadgets
- Maintaining a regular sleep and wake schedule
- Try not to hit the hay on a full stomach.
- Limit your beverage consumption just before the bed time.
- Keep your room temperature a bit low on the cooler side.
- Go to bed using your internal circadian clock.
- Pick up a book if you are having trouble sleeping but ‘do not read the book in the bed, go to a different room or sit on a chair use a dim light to read’ and you will surely feel sleepy.
NOTE: For Secondary Insomnia treatment please visit a psychiatrist.