What is Insomnia? – All You Need to Know

Insomnia word cloudInsomnia (in-SOM-ne-ah) is a common sleep disorder. People who experience insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Such people can be dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, low energy, mood disturbances and some decreased performance levels at work or school. They may not feel refreshed when they wake up.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is either a short-term or chronic condition that involves problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. Its short form (transient) can be caused by illness, stress, environmental factors, anxiety or traveling. Its long-term form (chronic) may be due to underlying psychological or physical conditions. When struggling to sleep, it is advisable you try to understand what insomnia is, its potential causes, and its characteristics.

This condition may be due to either difficulty falling or staying asleep. It may also be as a result of waking up earlier than desired. The sleep is typically reported to be of chronically poor quality, light, and quite a non-refreshing one. In children, they may face resistance going to bed, or some difficulties initiating sleep without the assistance of a parent of the caregiver.

Characteristics of Insomnia

People with insomnia are defined by the following;

– They find it difficult to fall asleepSleep, insomnia, night.
– They lie awake for long periods at night
– They wake up several times during the night
– They wake up very early in the morning and are not able to get back to sleep
– They do not feel any refreshed when they wake up
– They find it hard to nap during the day despite feeling tired
– They feel tired and irritable during the day and have difficulties in concentrating

How Much Sleep Does One Need?

There is no official laid down guidelines about how much sleep one needs to get each night because people are different.On average, the usually accepted amount of sleep for an adult is considered to be seven to nine hours per night. Children and small babies may sleep for longer than this time while older adults may sleep less than this time. The most vital thing is if you feel you get enough sleep or not, and the whether your sleep is of good quality. You may not get goo sleep if you constantly feel tired during the day as this will affect your everyday life.

How Common is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common/prevalent encountered sleep disorder. The frequency of its occurrence depends on the study and definition used, and if one is evaluating between chronic and acute one. Studies that women have high levels of facing insomnia as compared to men. On top of this effect, this lack of sleep typically happen as people get old. Insomnia also seems to be more prevalent in those who are unemployed, the single and those of low socioeconomic status.

Interesting Facts About Insomnia

1. The lack of sleep or insomnia is a common problem that can wreak havoc on your daily life. It can leave you feeling tired and unfocused, leading to anxiety, depression and irritability.

2. The primary symptoms are finding trouble falling asleep or even staying asleep. Many individuals find that they lie awake for a long time before falling asleep for a very short period.

man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia sleep disorder3. Insomnia can be short-term or ongoing, with the short term one being brought up by stress at work, family pressure and traumatic circumstances. This type of insomnia lasts for days to few weeks.

4. The chronic type can last for months or longer and in most cases, it is a symptom or a side effect of another medication or condition

5. Your doctor may recommend a sleep study, and this may be especially helpful to those individuals who have a sleep disorder. This is called PSG- Polysomnogram and records the brain activity, heart rate, eye movement and blood pressure. It also records amount of oxygen in the blood and snoring/chest movements.

6. Lifestyle changes can help curb the problem of lack of lack of sleep. Reducing on caffeine and tobacco and controlling on the OTC- Over-the-counter drugs may bring a positive impact on sleeplessness.

7. Staying on a sleep schedule helps. Exercising 5-6 hours prior to going to bed and practicing good bedtime habits such as limiting distractions and lights may help.

8. Cognitive behavioral therapy may be necessary as it aims to reduce anxiety with relaxation techniques.

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