Insomnia may be a disorder during which you’ve got trouble falling and/or staying asleep.
The condition are often short-term (acute) or can last an extended time (chronic). it’s going to also come and go.
Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a couple of weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens a minimum of 3 nights every week for 3 months or more.
There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary.
Causes of primary insomnia include:
Causes of secondary insomnia include:
Insomnia affects women more than men and older people more than younger ones. Young and middle-age African Americans also have a higher risk.
Other risk factors include:
Symptoms of insomnia include:
Insomnia itself is often a symptom of another problem. Symptoms include:
They might tell you to keep a sleep diary for a week or two, keeping track of your sleep patterns and how you feel during the day. They may talk to your bed partner about how much and how well you’re sleeping. You might also have special tests at a sleep center.
During the exam, your doctor will seek to identify any medical or psychological illness that may be contributing to your insomnia. For example, you may be asked about chronic snoring and recent weight gain, which might suggest sleep apnea as the cause of insomnia. You will also likely be asked questions to see if you are suffering from anxiety, depression or other conditions that may keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Acute insomnia may not need treatment.
If it’s hard for you to do everyday activities because you’re tired, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for a short time. Medicines that work quickly but briefly can help you avoid problems like drowsiness the next day.
Don’t use over-the-counter sleeping pills for insomnia. They might have side effects, and they tend to work less well over time.
For chronic insomnia, you’ll need treatment for the conditions or health problems that are keeping you awake. Your doctor might also suggest behavioral therapy. This can help you change the things you do that make insomnia worse and learn what you can do to promote sleep.
Treatment for insomnia may involve nonmedical therapy, such as developing better sleep habits or psychotherapy, and sometimes medications. If a medical condition like diabetes or menopause is causing your insomnia, treating those conditions may help. If insomnia is a side effect of a medication, changing the medication or its timing or reducing the dose may help. Always talk to your health care provider before making changes to any medications you are taking.
Short-term insomnia, often caused by travel or stress, usually improves once the stress is removed or after your body has adjusted to the new schedule. Short-term use of over-the-counter sleep remedies may help. Chronic insomnia, which disrupts sleep for extended periods of time, may call for a thorough physical exam, alteration of some lifestyle habits, medical treatment, and, perhaps, psychotherapy to identify a hidden cause. It is most important to treat any problem that is producing insomnia symptoms. Just treating insomnia symptoms without dealing with the main cause will not be helpful.
Benzodiazepine sedatives such as triazolam (Halcion), estazolam, lorazepam (Ativan), temazepam (Restoril), flurazepam, and quazepam (Doral) and non-benzodiazepine sedatives such as zolpidem (Ambien, Intermezzo), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata) are drugs that can help induce sleep. However, these medicines may be addictive with extended use. Also they can be dangerous if you take them with alcohol or other drugs that depress the central nervous system. They can cause morning sleepiness, although side effects are generally less severe with the non-benzodiazepines. A prescription oral spray called Zolpimist, which contains Ambien’s active ingredient, can be used for short-term treatment of insomnia.
Belsomra (suvorexant) is the first approved orexin receptor antagonist. Orexins are chemicals that are involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and play a role in keeping people awake. Belsomra alters the action of orexin in the brain.
Doxepin (Silenor) is approved for treating people who have trouble staying asleep. Silenor may help with sleep maintenance by blocking histamine receptors. Do not take this drug unless you are able to get a full seven or eight hours of sleep. Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy.
Ramelteon (Rozerem) is an insomnia medication that works differently than the other sedative medications. It is less likely to cause morning sleepiness or to be addictive.
Over-the-counter sleep drugs usually contain an antihistamine. Antihistamines are often used for allergies, but they have a side effect of drowsiness. These medications may cause daytime sleepiness and dry mouth along with other side effects.
Many poor sleepers simply need help relaxing. If you’re a habitual insomniac and trying to get to sleep just makes you more anxious and awake, try these alternative choices to help reduce your worry about sleep while relaxing your body and mind. If the root cause of insomnia is stress, any treatment must address the problem of stress in your life.
Breathing exercises can promote relaxation. Here’s a routine you can do anywhere, anytime:
Moderate exercise can help you sleep better and give you more energy while awake. Aim for a 20- to 30-minute routine three or four times a week. Tailor the workout to your physical condition, and exercise in the morning or afternoon, not close to bedtime.Check with your doctor about how much and what type of exercise is right for you.
Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback may reduce tension and promote better sleep. Visualization or guided imagery, during which you hold a peaceful image in your mind before bedtime, can also be an effective path to relaxation. You can learn these techniques from an instructor, online sites, a how-to book, or an instructional tape.
Good Sleep Habits
Be sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Eye shades may help since light comes in even through closed eyelids.
If you wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep, remain quiet and relaxed. Even normal sleep can be punctuated by periods of restlessness or even waking. Be patient; sleep usually returns. Remember, a few nights of poor sleep do no long-term harm. Even if you toss and turn trying to get to sleep, you are probably getting more periods of sleep than you think.
Our bodies and brains need sleep so they can repair themselves. It’s also crucial for learning and keeping memories. If insomnia is keeping you awake, you could have:
Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you beat insomnia. Here are some tips:
Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others.
Complementary medicine is essentially alternative medicine that is taken along with conventional treatments.
Herbal supplements are purported to help treat insomnia. A look:
Clinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of herbs are scarce. More information is required before these herbs can be recommended as a first line of treatment against insomnia.
Since herbal supplements can interact with certain medications, always inform your health care provider if you are using any herbal supplements.
Melatonin is a hormone that is made by a gland in the brain in humans and produced in animals as well as plants. Although the effects of melatonin are complex and poorly understood, it plays a critical role in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. Melatonin has been studied as a possible treatment for circadian rhythm disorders, and may be helpful in decreasing sleep disturbances caused by jet lag. Studies are mixed, but it may help with falling asleep more quickly and help with insomnia.
Acupuncture is often used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of insomnia. This procedure involves the insertion of very fine needles (sometimes in combination with electrical stimulus or with heat produced by burning specific herbs) into the skin at specific acupuncture points in order to influence the functioning of the body. The results of recent studies have shown acupuncture improved sleep quality in people with insomnia. However, additional research is required before the effectiveness of acupuncture is proved conclusively for the relief of insomnia.
Relaxation and meditation or mindfulness
Increased muscle tension and intrusive thoughts can interfere with sleep. Therefore, it is not surprising that techniques aimed at relaxing muscles (progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback) and quieting the mind (meditation) have been found to be effective treatments for insomnia. Most people can learn these techniques, but it usually takes several weeks before they can sufficiently master them well enough to help ease insomnia. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the value of meditation in treating insomnia. Several studies show that regular meditation practice, either alone or as a part of yoga practice, results in higher blood levels of melatonin, an important regulator of sleep.
Regular exercise deepens sleep in young adults with or without sleep disorders. In addition, several studies show that exercise can improve sleep in older adults. Recent studies show that even the low-to-moderate tai chi and certain yoga practices enhance sleep quality in older persons and cancer patients with sleep problems, respectively. Although consistent exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, most experts advise exercising at least three to four hours before bedtime to avoid interference with sleep.
Alternative therapies are not FDA approved and not always benign. By definition, alternative therapies are not generally accepted standard of care practice in the U.S. As mentioned, some herbal therapies can interact with other medications you may be taking. Consider the following points before starting alternative therapy.