What is Insomnia, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment – ResMed India

INSOMNIA

The bedding was done, lights were dim and you were ready to put this day behind. But your sleep had some plans in mind? Slept at 5, woke up at 7 and the alarm was set up at 8, is this your pattern? 

It could be insomnia 

Everyone has some nights of disturbed sleep, but when the sleep pattern becomes an awake pattern it is a cause of worry. A night of good sleep ensures an active day and good health. While if the same is compromised, it can have consequences. Find the answers to all the questions about your sleepless nights.

What Is insomnia?

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder, where persons find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, even if they had the opportunity to have a good and relaxed sleep. So if you

  1. Find it difficult to go to bed
  2. Wake up often in your sleep and have a disturbed sleep
  3. Or wake up way too early, when you have time before the alarm goes off

You could be suffering from insomnia! 

It has become a common disorder owing to today’s lifestyle, but that is not the only reason you might have it. 

Read for causes…


Causes of insomnia

Sleep deprivation problems have been on the rise. Lack of sleep is also affecting the daily routine of people and restricting their activities. The reason for such lost sleep can be because of three main issues: 

1. Lifestyle

Lifestyle issues have grown to be the cause of many disorders. Sleep deprivation problems also surface because of lifestyle conduct like lack of physical activities, dietary choices, irregular bed-time habits, increased screen time, travel and jet lag, increased caffeine intake, and even street drugs. 

2. Medical

Some people develop insomnia, while some may find a lack of sleep a part of their current medical conditions. It is true that pre-existing medical issues can be the reason for trouble in sleeping. Chronic body pains, gastroesophageal reflux, lung problems, heart disease, and even sleep apnea can cause insomnia. 

3. Psychological

Growing psychological problems, especially in the millennials and Gen Z, seem to be a sign of worry.  They can’t sleep for long hours, or sometimes throughout the night. Depression, anxiety, and stress are taking a toll on their mental health and even affect their sleep. 

Apart from this, the growing trend of sleeping less, binge-watching throughout the night, completely disturbs the sleep cycle. People complain of not getting enough sleep or no sleep at all because the pattern has been destroyed! 


Types of insomnia

Sleep has its ways of effecting people. Here are a few types of insomnia, see where you land:

1. Acute Insomnia

The problem of not getting enough sleep lasts for a few weeks or at most for a month. The sleeplessness is temporary, mainly caused by life events or certain activities, and is resolved without any treatment.
 

2. Chronic Insomnia

Sleepless for three nights in a week, and for 3 months? Insomnia problem could be a cause of worry as it is at a severe stage and needs attention. It could be both primary or comorbid insomnia.
 

3. Primary Insomnia

Primary insomnia develops over time and has no linkage to any pre-existing medical conditions. It is possible to have sleeplessness due to other reasons,  part from the existing medical issues.
 

4. Comorbid or Secondary Insomnia

Here, the issue of trouble sleeping pops-up because of some health problem a person might already be suffering from. Sometimes, the medical issues or the medications associated with the same, cause sleep deprivation.


Diagnosis and Treatment

The sleep deprivation symptoms are quite reasonable to make a judgment that a person has insomnia. However, there are other ways to be sure about the problem.

A sleep study helps you find out the risk levels associated with your disorder. Also, you can maintain a sleep journal for a few weeks for your doctor to understand your sleep history for proper treatment.

 

Treatment

There are various insomnia treatments available, depending upon the severity of the problem. While acute insomnia can be treated by following sleep hygiene methods and certain therapies; chronic insomnia might need cognitive therapies and medical assistance. 

 


Sleep Hygiene:

These are some techniques that a person must follow for a night of healthy sleep. It's the mantra for a good nap, for you to rise and shine! The bedroom rules are as follows: 

  1. Fix your bedtime, every night sleep at the same hour and wake up at a select time
  2. Make sure your room is dark and there is no noise for you to have a sound sleep
  3. Make use of the bedroom only for sleeping and avoid working on the bed
  4. Don’t exercise close to bedtime
  5. Avoid using the devices while going to sleep, the extra light makes you stay awake
  6. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before going to sleep
  7. Take short naps in the afternoon of not more than 30 minutes.

 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

Popularly known as CBTI, this therapy is a drug-free insomnia treatment. It is found to be the go-to therapy to cure sleeplessness. There are a couple of therapies under CBT that are effective in curing sleeplessness. 

  1. Cognitive therapy: Changing the attitude and belief that interfere with good sleep
  2. Relaxation therapy: To relax the mind and body for a calm sleep
  3. Sleep Restrictions: It focuses on gradually increasing the sleep time to have a healthy sleep
  4. Stimulus Control: The main agenda is to limit activities in the bedroom- fixing bedtime, leaving bed when unable to sleep, using the bed only for sleep and sex.

 

Medical Assistance:

Although it is not a preferred insomnia cure, it is still an option. Visit a doctor with your sleep history and discuss your sleep cycle, for a prescribed medicinal course.


Consequences of insomnia

Sleeplessness is a disorder that is taken lightly and ignored most of the time. In this binge-watching culture, it has become a trend to not have a fixed sleep cycle. However, the problems associated with insomnia are much larger. Some of the grave consequences of not having a goodnight sleep can be

a.  All-time fatigue and irritation

b. Decreased performance and lethargy

c. Grumpy mood and low energy

d. Day time sleepiness

e. Developing health problems like:
    1. Obesity
    2. Diabetes
    3. Heart problems 
    4. Stress and anxiety
    5. Blood pressure
    6. Weak immune system and increased sensitivity

 

The risks are very high for such a problem and a light approach to it could lead to critical issues. Unable to sleep at night, could become a pattern and these difficulties might start to bubble. Starting with basic insomnia remedies can make a huge difference and help curb the problem before it becomes severe. 

FAQ

  • Myths about insomnia

    Myths Vs. Facts

    Rumour has it that there are ample misconceptions about insomnia. It’s time to clear the air and get the facts right! 

    Myth#1 You can make up for lost sleep

    It seems like a plan for a lot of people to cover up their sleep during the weekends. However, it is no office work. Your body needs proper rest and sleep every night for you to function better and to stay healthy. 


    Myth#2 Sleep problems go away on their own

    While, we wish all problems would just vanish, but sleep problems are just like other disorders. For you to have a nice sleep, it requires time and dedication. Sleep hygiene techniques and remedies are the solution to your problem, and not procrastination. 

    Myth#3 Waking up at night is no big deal

    Having a disturbed sleep is as bad as having no sleep. If you wake up often in your sleep, you are still going to feel annoyed and irritated in the morning. In order to wake up fresh and energetic continuous sleep is crucial.

    Myth#4 Only people with medical conditions have insomnia

    While people with medical issues have chances of having insomnia, so as the rest of the crowd. Any lifestyle change, psychological problem can lead to insomnia. Sometimes, it is the primary problem that causes other health issues.

    Myth#5 Supplements help me sleep

    Be it caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, which you think helps you relax, actually just make the sleep go away. Avoid it before bedtime, it will just ruin your sleep. 
     

    Myth#6 If I’m sleeping less I have insomnia

    Sleeplessness is just one of the symptoms of insomnia. Hence it is not enough to declare that a person is suffering from it. Other symptoms include:

    • Waking up often at night
    • Waking up way too early
    • Waking up tired and irritated
       

    Myth#7 Counting sheep will help me sleep

    There are some old school techniques that act as sleep hacks but aren’t always successful. If you are lying awake in the bed for more than 20mins, it is time to leave the warmth. Your bed needs to be the place for sleep and not to stay awake!


    You have the facts correct now, make an informed decision. It’s a hidden dream to be healthy and fit, you know what to do! 

  • Who is at higher insomnia risk?

    Insomnia is prevalent in certain groups and is a cause of worry for them. Some people are more prone to insomnia than others.

    The problem of sleep deprivation is more prevalent in women than in men

    Elderly and the old are at a greater risk. Aging can affect their sleep, so does their medical problems. 

    People with pre-existing issues like depression and anxiety could have greater chances at having insomnia

    People working in shifts are at a greater risk of having insomnia, as their sleep cycle is completely destroyed.

  • Sleep tips for insomnia sufferers

     

    Sleep Tips

    While a lot of us do face the problem of sleeplessness, there are certain sleep hacks to fall for your pillow

    1. Follow a sleep routine of going to bed and waking up
    2. Get the right pillow for your neck to relax
    3. Try a hot bath and not a cold one before sleeping
    4. Avoid gadgets near your bed or before you sleep, at least 30 mins before sleeping 
    5. Avoid fatty foods before going to bed, have a glass of warm milk instead
    6. Manage your overall stress level and clear your head before you sleep
    7. Nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine are all stimuli to stay awake, avoid it before sleeping
    8. Try breathing exercise before sleeping and release tension from your body
    9. Restrict your afternoon naps to 30mins, for you to enjoy your night sleep
    10. Optimize your bedroom environment- switch of the lights, ensure there is no noise and set the right temperature

 

Free Sleep Consultation

Lack of sleep is a silent epidemic. Our brains and bodies need regular healthy sleep. If you are having sleep issues, book free sleep coach consultation.

Share this Page