Insomnia is a sleeping disorder attributed to people having difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep. In most cases, it only lasts a few days and goes away naturally, especially when it is caused by a patient’s lifestyle or habit. Other times, it is persistent and chronic. This is where it becomes serious as it tends to be tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.
People with this problem have some of the following symptoms:
- Hard time falling asleep even when I tried.
- Waking up intermittently at night.
- Reliance on sleeping pills or alcohol to sleep better
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Unrefreshing sleep (light sleep).
- Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability.
- Loss of concentration when awake.
Types of Insomnia
There are two types of this sleeping disorder which is primary and secondary types. People suffering from the primary type means they are having sleep problems that are not directly connected with any other underlying issue or health condition. On the other hand, the secondary type means that the sleep problems arise because of something else like asthma, depression, arthritis, heartburn, or cancer, medications, or a substance they are using like alcohol.
Insomnia also varies on the duration (how long it lasts) and frequency (how often it occurs). Acute lasts for a short amount of time while chronic can last a long time. It also has random occurrences such as periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. The acute type can last from one instance and up to a few weeks. When a person has sleep disorder at least three nights a week for three months or longer it becomes chronic.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most rampant causes of chronic sleep disorders. Stressing over the ability to sleep can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms even worse. Other common psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and past trauma. Treating these underlying problems directly is critical in beginning to cure your problem.
Furthermore, the sleep disorder itself can be a symptom of underlying sleep disorders. For example, “restless legs syndrome” is a neurological condition in which a person has an unnecessary sensation of needing to move their legs. This can inadvertently keep you up at night. Patients with restless legs syndrome typically experience worse symptoms in the later part of the day, as well as during periods of inactivity. During the transition from waking up to sleeping, the inactive part of sleeping heightens this sensation which means that falling asleep and staying asleep are worse as well. An estimated 10 percent of the population suffers from restless legs syndrome.
Medical problems or illnesses can contribute to its severity. Many medical conditions can be linked to it, such as asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, acid reflux, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of sleep disorder because of its persistent effects.
Many prescription drugs can delay your sleep such as antidepressants, stimulants, corticosteroids, high blood pressure medications, thyroid hormone, some contraceptives, and other drugs that provide the same effect. Common over-the-counter medication include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine like Midol, Excedrin, diuretics, and slimming pills.
Dr. Kanwar Kelley is located at Orinda California and if you are suffering from insomnia, don’t hesitate to make an appointment (925) 254-6710. He is an experienced physician in many illnesses who can guide your health in the right direction.