What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a disorder in which one finds it hard falling or staying asleep. It could also mean one not getting enough sleep at night but feels sleepy during the day. This is normally detected by one’s self (self-detectable) and doesn’t need to be tested in the laboratory before one knows he or she has Insomnia. Insomnia is a disorder that affects millions of people globally all around the world with more than 1.5 million cases per year in Nigeria.
According to centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep per day depending on one’s age. This condition can be short-termed or long-termed. Short term or acute Insomnia lasts from a night to a few weeks. Long term lasts from at least three nights.
Who is an Insomniac?
An Insomniac is one who has problems falling or staying asleep. They may persistently wake up so early which can cause:
· Sleepiness during the day
· Extreme fatigue or drowsiness
· Prolonged sleep patterns
· Mood swings, anxiety and irritability
· Sluggishness or Laziness
Also, Insomnia may lead to lifelong build up of diseases such as:
· Cardiovascular Disease
Insomnia can limit or slow down a person’s activities.
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia can be classified in different categories. They include:
· By Duration
· By Severity
Classification by Cause:
· Primary Insomnia: This means one’s sleep issues aren’t related to any other health problem.
· Secondary Insomnia: This means one has problem falling or staying asleep due to an health condition such as cancer, asthma, substance abuse etc.
Classification by Duration:
· Acute or Short term Insomnia: Lasts for a short while. It comes and goes.
· Chronic or Long term Insomnia: Lasts for a long time. It can Lasts for months or years.
Classification by Severity
· Mild Insomnia: Ranges from lack of sleep that results to weariness.
· Moderate Insomnia: May disrupt daily activities.
· Severe Insomnia: Marks a significance on one’s life.
Other factors considered by Doctors identifying the type of Insomnia includes:
· If the person wakes up early
· Has issue falling asleep
· Has issue staying asleep
· Getting a nap
What are the symptoms of Insomnia?
These are signs that mean one has asides having problems, other issues that could lead to Insomnia include:
· Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
· Sluggishness at work
· Difficulty concentrating
· Anxiety, Depression, Irritability
· Gastro-Intestinal problems
Risk factors of Insomnia
Insomnia affects women more than men and as well as older people more than younger people. Women and young people are at higher risk of having Insomnia. It can occur at any age. They include:
· Chronic illness
· Mental/ Physical Health Problems
· Working at shifts
· Family History
· Being Pregnant
· Use of substance or alcohol
What causes Insomnia?
Insomnia can be caused by random factors which could be physical or psychological. Most times, it could be stress which is temporary or an underlying health problem.
· Stress which could be as a result of work, life events, loss of a loved one or job, divorce.
· Noise, Light or a change in Temperature ( cold or hot).
· Work Shifts
· Mental Health Issues such as Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder.
· Health conditions such as chronic pain.
· Hormonal changes due to Menopause
· Use of too much technological gadgets before bed. This could increase chances of having Insomnia.
· Medications such as corticosteroids, stations and so on
How to diagnose Insomnia:
A sleep specialist or your doctor can help diagnose for Insomnia by:
· Asking for or about your medical history, sleep patterns or history
Performing a physical exam or interrogation
· Request a sleep diary to keep track of your sleeping patterns
· Talk to your bed partner as regards your sleep pattern
How well to prevent Insomnia:
Can be otherwise referred to as Home-care solutions.
Below are some tips:
Sleeping at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each day this creating a sleep pattern.
· Avoid using phones or other devices before going to bed. The radiation from the device makes it hard for one to sleep.
· Avoid taking caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day. They are stimulants that keeps one from falling asleep or awake.
· Exercising regularly but should not be within the limit of 3-4 hours before bed.
· Avoid eating heavy meals late at night.
· Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature before bed.
· Develop a routine before bed. Example listen to music, take a bath, read books etc.
For an acute Insomnia, a sleep specialist or doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for you.
For Chronic Insomnia, therapies are recommended which could be behavioural and help construct your sleep patterns.
Other treatments include:
· Melatonin; though no strong evidence that it is a proven aid.
· Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): It creates focus and increases one’s motivation and energy to work.
In conclusion, insomnia can be managed and properly treated. The most important thing is reporting symptoms as early as possible.