Insomnia comes in many forms and worries people of all ages, most commonly for just a night or two, but sometimes for weeks, months, and even years. Insomnia has many causes. Insomnia is a symptom, much like fever or stomachache. There three symptoms commonly shown by people who have insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, no problem falling asleep but difficulty staying asleep with many awakenings, and waking up too early. Difficulty sleeping at night may be related with the following daytime symptoms: sleepiness, anxiety, impaired memory, impaired concentration, and irritability.
There are three basic types of insomnia. The first type is called transient insomnia — lasting for up to several nights and is usually caused by excitement or stress. Adults may sleep poorly before a key meeting at work or after a quarrel with his or her partner. Many people sleep worse than usual for the first night or two away from home, particularly if they have traveled across many time zones. Nighttime strong physical movements, the flu or other brief illnesses may disrupt sleep temporarily.
The second one is situational insomnia. That is two or three weeks of poor sleep and is often developed during ongoing stress at work or at home. Situations such as job delay, divorced, serious illness or death are primary in this type of insomnia. Relief from the situation that provoked disturbed sleep or accommodation to it usually returns a person to his or her usual sleeping pattern.
Chronic insomnia is the third and most serious type of the sleeping problems. This sleeping problem lasts for three weeks or longer with poor sleep every night, most nights, or quite a lot of nights of a month. This is a complex disorder with many possible causes. In more than half of all cases of persistent insomnia the cause appears to be a physical illness, such as disorders of breathing or muscle activity. These figures were derived from a nationwide study of 8,000 patients and conducted by the Association of Sleep Disorders Center.
One of the causes of insomnia is the use of stimulants. Even though caffeine near bedtime may not disturb sleep, it may bring awakenings later. Caffeine related components are also found in soft drinks, chocolate, and strong tea. Nicotine is a stimulant and it has been shown that smokers take longer to fall asleep and sleep worse than non-smokers. Ingredients in many commonly used drugs, including non-prescription drugs of weight loss, asthma and colds, can disrupt sleep. Although alcohol before bedtime may stimulate sleep, it may also make sleep unstable throughout the night.
Another cause for sleep disorders could be irregular sleeping hours. Late hours on weekends as well as shiftwork that demand frequent changes in sleep time may both damage sleep. In contrast, regular hours help program your body to sleep at certain times and to stay awake at others. The inactive behavior that fails to shift into full and active wakefulness during the day may also fail to shift into deep sleep at night. This problem becomes very common in inactive aging people and during illness.
Some people can also learn insomnia. Typically people who sleep poorly in times of stress worry about not being able to function during the day. They decide to try harder to sleep at night. Unfortunately, this strong-minded effort often makes them more alert, bringing on more worried thoughts. Activities around the bedroom, changing into night clothes, turning off the lights, puling up the blankets, soon serve as clues that bring wakefulness. People who have trouble falling asleep in their own beds may fall asleep quickly when they do not have it mind, for example, reading a newspaper, watching TV, or driving.
The tendency to sleep poorly even a few times a month may be enough to maintain poor sleep. Usually people use treatment for this type of insomnia. The treatment has to improve sleep habits and cure the anxiety. Misuse or overuse of sleeping pills when used every night stops to benefit sleeping after a few weeks. Suddenly stopping to use them may lead to a temporary worsening of insomnia called rebound wakefulness. This problem can be solved by gradually reducing medications. It is best to ask a doctor how to best avoid wakefulness caused by sudden ending to use sleep medications.
Noise and light are two of the most common causes of sleeping disorders. Passing traffic outside your window, jets flying by, a neighbors TV, even your own TV left on while you are sleeping as well as many other noises may disturb your sleep even if you do not wake up completely. Even though your eyes are closed, light still comes through. If you do not want to wake up with the sun or you must sleep during the daytime keep your curtains closed. Disorders such as arthritis, angina, lower back injury, and headache may as well disturb sleep and wakening hours.
Thus insomnia has many forms and many more causes. It is the disease and can be cured. Sometimes it is enough of your own effort, for example, making your sleeping hours more regular. Sometimes positioning of pillow, different type of mattress and pre-sleep behavior can make a difference. When insomnia lasts for a longer period of time you may need doctors help and consultation. Also remember, some people prove to be natural short-sleepers who need to stop believing that everyone needs eight hours of sleep. In fact, some people need more sleep while others need some less.
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