Insomnia: Overview of the problem
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that can regularly affect millions of people across the globe. An individual suffering from insomnia finds it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep. According to some recent surveys, an adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep every 24 hours, depending on their age. Some research shows that about 25% of people in the USA experience insomnia every year, but about 75% of these people do not develop a prolonged problem.
An individual suffering from insomnia has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They may consistently face problems waking up too early. Quality sleep plays an essential role in overall well-being. Not getting enough sleep you need regularly can have a pretty significant impact on physical and mental health. Not to mention the quality of life.
The short-term problem of insomnia can result in difficulty concentrating, daytime fatigue, and other issues. On the other hand, prolonged insomnia can increase the risk of various health problems. From this blog, you will get to know about what insomnia is, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Insomnia can also undermine work and school performance and limit an individual ability to perform day-to-day tasks and activities.
Insomnia may result from various mental and physical factors. Often, the causes are temporary problems, including short-term stress. This problem may also stem from an underlying chronic medical condition in some other examples.
Possible causes of insomnia may include:
- certain medical issues
- jet lag
- physical illness or pain
- changes to your sleep habits such as with a partner for the first time, new home, and sleeping in a hotel
- a traumatic or upsetting event
Prolonged insomnia may occur on its own or as a result of:
- certain health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and heart problems
- sleep apnea
- sleep disorders
- mental illnesses such as substance use disorder, depression, and anxiety
- chronic severe pain, including back pain and arthritis
Other symptoms of natural transitions and other health problems may cause difficulty in sleeping. For example, during menopause, hormonal changes may result in night sweats, which may interrupt your sleep.
Some people have rare genetic disorders referred to as fatal familial insomnia, which prevents sleep and can be life-threatening.
Apart from disrupted sleep, insomnia can result in other issues, including:
- difficulty studying, working, socializing
- tension headaches
- taking medicines or alcohol to fall asleep
- anxiety or worry about sleeping
- lack of accidents, leading to errors and lack of coordination.
- poor concentration and focus
- low motivation or energy
- gastrointestinal symptoms
- anxiety, depression, and irritability
- sleepiness and daytime fatigue
According to experts, difficulty sleeping is a primary factor in motor vehicle accidents.
Is insomnia a mental illness?
Poor and low-quality sleep can make you feel down, stressed, and worried. So, it is no surprise that how well you can sleep directly impacts your mental and physical health. Sleeping difficulties such as insomnia are the common symptoms of many mental conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
So, the relation between mental illness and insomnia is bidirectional. About 50 percent of adults who have insomnia have cognitive conditions, and about 90 percent of adults suffering from depression also experience sleep problems.
Sleep difficulties can also create a loop, such as slowing recovery from mental conditions. An individual suffering from depression/ also continues to experience insomnia. For example, they are less likely to respond to treatment for depression.
How can I diagnose insomnia?
When considering diagnosing insomnia, a medical professional may generally ask you some questions such as:
- your sleep history, such as how long you have symptoms of insomnia and how they can affect your daily life.
- stressors in your personal and professional life
- mental and physical health conditions you have noticed
- any existing medical problems
Answers to these questions can help a medical professional determine the underlying cause of sleep difficulties. They may also ask to keep a sleep log for about two to four weeks,
They can also recommend you medical tests to know about medical conditions that can interfere with your sleep. If your medical professional suspects you can have an underlying sleep problem, including sleep apnea, they can recommend participating in a sleep study.
The best treatments for insomnia
Short-term insomnia often gets cured on its own but to treat chronic insomnia, your medical professional may recommend:
- non-medical treatment: The most common non-medical treatment for insomnia is CBT. It is a structured intervention that helps to identify and replace the thoughts that cause and worsen the sleep problem with habits that may promote sound sleep. Unlike sleeping medicines, this therapy helps to overcome the underlying cause of sleep difficulties.
- Medical treatment: Lifestyle changes and behavioral therapy can help to improve your sleep in the long term. But in some cases, taking sleeping pills for the short term can help to sleep. A medical professional may recommend taking sleeping pills only for short duration. They are not the first-choice options for treating chronic insomnia.
Is Ambien a sleeping pill?
Ambien is a potent prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of insomnia. It may be used alone or with other medicines and belongs to the hypnotics and sedative drugs family.
It is not known if this drug is safe and effective in children. Ambien is the best drug of choice for insomnia; that affects the chemical in your brain that may be unbalanced in an individual with sleep problems. This drug is used to treat insomnia. The primary form of this medicine helps to fall asleep immediately when you first go to bed. On the other hand, the extended form of this drug has two layers. The first layer dissolves instantly to make you fall asleep, and the second layer dissolves slowly so that you can stay asleep.
A medical professional may determine which form of this medicine is best for you.
Insomnia is not just a minor inconvenience, but it is a sleep disorder that may affect your emotional and mental health along with physical well-being. If you have insomnia, contact a medical professional immediately. They will help you know about possible causes and offer you support to find out the best treatment option.