- Insomnia is the inability to sleep or abnormal wakefulness.
- It is the most common sleep disorder.
- It occurs due to systemic illness or mental conditions such as psychiatric problems, alcoholic addiction and drug addiction.
- Short-term or acute insomnia is a temporary problem stemming from changes in your normal routine due to illness, travel, grief, hormone fluctuations, or stress.
- Long-term or chronic insomnia occurs when you regularly experience trouble sleeping (three or more nights a week) over an extended period of time (three months or more)
Causes of insomnia; (Psychological and medical)
1) Anxiety, stress, and depression;
- Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia.
- Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma.
- Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.
2) Medical problems or illness.
Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including
- Parkinson’s disease,
- acid reflux,
- kidney disease,
- and cancer.
- Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including ;
- stimulants for ADHD,
- thyroid hormone,
- high blood pressure medications,
- and some contraceptives.
- Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin), diuretics, and slimming pills.
Daytime habits that cause insomnia
Having an irregular sleep schedule, napping, drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day, eating sugary foods or heavy meals too close to bedtime, and not getting enough exercise are all examples of daytime habits that can impact your ability to sleep at night.
- Non-medication based
1) Non-medication based:
- Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Don’t work, watch TV, or use your computer in bed or the bedroom. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your brain and body get a strong signal that it’s time to nod off when you get into bed.
- Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. Dim the lights, and focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, knitting, or listening to soft music.
- Abdominal breathing. Breathing deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and ribcage, can help relaxation. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. Make yourself comfortable. Starting with your feet, tense the muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10, and then relax. Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
- As an alternative to taking prescription drugs, some evidence shows that an average person seeking short-term help may find relief by taking over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or doxylamine.
- Diphenhydramine and doxylamine are widely used in nonprescription sleep aids.
- Antihistamine effectiveness for sleep may decrease over time, and anticholinergic side-effects (such as dry mouth) may also be a drawback with these particular drugs.
- Because insomnia is a common symptom of depression, antidepressants are effective for treating sleep problems whether or not they are associated with depression. While all antidepressants help regulate sleep, some antidepressants such as amitriptyline, doxepin, mirtazapine, and trazodone can have an immediate sedative effect, and are prescribed to treat insomnia.
- The benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic medications also have a number of side-effects such as day time fatigue, motor vehicle crashes and other accidents, cognitive impairments and falls and fractures. Elderly people are more sensitive to these side-effects.
- Drugs that may prove more effective and safer than benzodiazepines for insomnia is an area of active research.
- Nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic drugs, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon, zopiclone (Imovane), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), are a class hypnotic medications that are similar to benzodiazepines in their mechanism of action, and indicated for mild to moderate insomnia
- they have similar—though potentially less severe—side effect profiles compared to benzodiazepines.