What is insomnia?
Insomnia occurs when you regularly find it hard to fall or stay asleep at night. Insomnia can have a long term effects on both your physical and emotional well-being.
Key Terms of Insomnia
- Can’t sleep
- Poor sleep
- Chronic insomnia
- Sleep deprivation
- Primary insomnia
- Mild insomnia
- Sleep latency
- Circadian rhythm
Facts on Insomnia
- 42% of Americans reported waking up in the middle of the night, with 29% finding it difficult to fall back asleep (R1)
- About 1:3 adults experience mild insomnia
- Insomnia affects more women than men, and it is one of the most common reasons to visit your doctor
- There may be no cause for your insomnia, in which case it is known as “primary insomnia”
- The risk of insomnia increases if you are older with poor health.
Causes of Chronic Insomnia
Aka Chronic insomnia is insomnia that lasts more than one month.
Insomnia may be caused by an underlying psychiatric or medical conditions
- Nasal/sinus allergies
- Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
- Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Low back pain
- A sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome
- Anxiety and stress (mind cannot stop thinking)
Lifestyle Habits that can Contribute to Insomnia are:
- Unhealthy sleep habits/ patterns
- Taking of stimulants such as caffeine, energy drinks
- Drinking alcohol
- Working shifts
What are signs of insomnia?
Insomnia can affect your ability to sleep in different ways, usually in combination.
- You may find it that it take hours for you to fall asleep
- You may not be able to stay asleep through the night
- You may wake up in the middle of the night and can’t easily fall back asleep
Common signs of insomnia can be:
- Ongoing trouble sleeping
- Restlessness in bed
Common effects of insomnia are:
- Waking unrefreshed and feel tired during the day
- Low energy
- Low mood or motivation and irritability
- Difficulty focusing, poor memory and concentration when awake
If you find you have signs of sleeplessness that are persisting and impacting your mood and health, make sure you visit your doctor.
See a healthcare professional if you are experiencing chronic insomnia or symptoms persist.
There are a few changes you can make that may help reduce your risk for insomnia.
- Manage your stress
- Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol late in the afternoon or reducing consumption of known stimulants.
- If you are a smoker, considered quitting. Smoking can disrupt sleep by inflaming the linings of your airways affecting breathing during the night.
- If you do shifts work, you are really going against the natural body’s circadian rhythm of 24 hour clock. Consider talking to your doctor about light therapy and in your case, melatonin sleep aid may be beneficial.