With insomnia, it becomes difficult to fall or stay asleep, or both. There is no “refreshed” feeling upon awakening for an insomnia sufferer. Continuous episodes of poor sleep reduce mental sharpness during daytime hours, memory can be negatively affected, and energy and mood can hit significant lows. The constant need for a nap can be a detriment to work performance, and presents a danger when the sleepy individual gets behind the wheel.
Importance of Sleep
How much sleep is required is very individual. Adults tend to need about 8 hours each night, while some can function quite well on 6 hours every night. But for those who can’t seem to get a solid night’s sleep – ever – may have one of the several types of insomnia, which are addressed in the links that follow.
Reasons for Insomnia
Insomnia doesn’t mean a few nights here and there of difficulty sleeping. It is much more pronounced and can last for a few weeks, a few months, and longer. If caffeine is consumed in large quantities on a daily basis, that could be a contributor to nights of broken sleep. Stressful workplaces or stressful home front situations could also be a trigger. Many physical and psychological ailments can induce insomnia.
Tests and Assessments
While there is no test for insomnia specifically, a physical exam with an assessment of medical and sleep history may uncover some possible causes. A sleep diary that records sleep habits and hygiene can be very telling. Is the bed a place where work occasionally is done? Is watching television in bed part of the nightly routine? Eating late at night doesn’t help when there is already a problem with getting to or staying asleep. A bed partner that may be awakened by loud snoring could provide information invaluable to both adults.
Some minor forms of insomnia don’t require treatment. For mild cases, behavioral changes may be rather helpful. For more serious cases, there may be prescribed medication, or a combination of medication and a change of behavior. But insomnia won’t be truly alleviated until the real health problem or condition is treated.
What can be helpful in the meantime:
Keep the bedroom reserved only for sleep and sex. The room should remain at a cool temperature, free of noises and light. Even the low light of an alarm clock can be disruptive; turn it away from the bed. A machine that makes the sound of the ocean, for example, or some other sound that is soothing, can help block out other sounds that could rouse early awakening. Room-darkening curtains and even an over-the-eyes mask could be helpful. Don’t nap; instead, try to keep to a structured bedtime schedule. Steer clear of bright light and stimulating activity, like video games, before going to bed. Limit the intake of caffeine and nicotine, both of which are stimulants.
If insomnia is suspected, start with the primary care physician, and a sleep diary should be brought along to help assess the issues. For further information, review these links that follow for a generous amount of helpful data.
- Numerous Types of Insomnia
- Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)
- Types of Insomnia
- Idiopathic, or Primary, Insomnia
- Temporary and Short-term Insomnia
- Insomnia Types
- Understanding Insomnia
- Chronic Insomnia
- Transient Insomnia
- Acute Insomnia
- Differences between Chronic & Acute Insomnia
- Sleep Onset Insomnia
- Middle Insomnia
- Quick-Comparison Graphic
- Sleep State Misperception
- Idiopathic Hypersomnia
- Insomnia Symptoms
- Medications and Disorders that can disrupt sleep
- Psychological, Lifestyle, Environmental
- What Causes Insomnia?
- Insomnia – A Symptom, Not an Illness
- Ailments, Behaviors
- Are people predisposed to insomnia?
- What Causes Insomnia?
- Insomnia & Diabetes
- Alcohol Dependence
- Energy Drinks
- A Sleep Diary Can Identify Patterns
- Identifying Symptoms
- Insomnia Assessment
- Sleep Study
- Walk-thru of a Sleep Study
- There is NO test for Insomnia
- An insurance co.’s survey in insomnia research
- Insomnia & Hyper arousal
- What causes hyper arousal?
- Insomnia & Psychiatric Disorders
- Common Insomnia Medications
- Music Before Bed May Be Helpful
- Medicine can help, but has risks
- New Habits Can Be Helpful
- What is Sleep Hygiene?
- With and Without Medication
- Rundown of Medications & effectiveness
- Simple Suggestions
- Sleep Aids that could be helpful
- Common Medical Treatments
- Over-The-Counter & Natural Treatments
- Is valerian root effective?
- Herbal insomnia treatments
- Foods & mealtimes
- Ancient techniques
- Lavender Oil
- Behavioral Therapy
- Risks, benefits of melatonin