Insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia can have one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble falling asleep.
  • Waking up often during the night and having difficulty getting back to sleep.
  • Arising too early in the morning.
  • Feeling tired upon awakening.
  • Irritability.
  • Lapses in memory or concentration.

Types of insomnia are primary insomnia, which is a condition that is not directly associated with any other health issue or problem; and secondary insomnia, which is a condition related to an illness or ailment, medications or substance use.

Acute insomnia is a short-term problem that can last from one night to a couple of weeks.
Causes include a significant amount of stress, emotional or physical discomfort, environmental factors, some medications and disruption of sleep schedules.

Insomnia is considered chronic when a person has difficulty sleeping for a minimum of three nights a week for a month or longer. Causes include depression, anxiety, chronic stress and pain or discomfort at night.

Treatments

Acute insomnia may not require treatment, and mild insomnia is frequently prevented or cured by with sound sleep habits. Beating chronic insomnia starts with treating any underlying problems that are causing the condition. We may suggest enacting behavioral therapy, relaxation exercises and reconditioning.

Here are some tips for good sleep habits:

  • Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
  • Try not to take naps during the day, which can make you less sleepy at night.
  • Avoid ingesting caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can prevent you from falling asleep, and alcohol can cause you to wake up during the night.
  • Exercise regularly but try to have workouts finished three to four hours prior to your bedtime. Exercising right before retiring for the day might stimulate you and make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Avoid consuming a heavy meal late in the day.
  • Be sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and not too warm or too cold. If it is necessary, use a sleeping mask to block light, and use earplugs, a fan or a white noise machine to cover up the sounds.
  • Relax before going to sleep by reading a book, listening to music or taking a bath.
  • If worrying about work or what you have to get done at home keeps you awake, write out a to-do list before going to bed to ease your mind.