Everything You Need To Know About Insomnia

Sunday, November 21, 2021

     Insomnia is a common type of sleep disorder in which one finds trouble falling or staying asleep. The condition can be short-term or last a long time - acute insomnia symptoms last from one night to several weeks, but chronic lack of sleep can last for up to three months or more. Though short-term limited sleep will come and go, it can lead to daytime fatigue and difficulty concentrating. On the other hand, chronic lack of sleep can lead to serious problems like an increased risk of various diseases. This guide describes the condition, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments. Read on to learn more.

Everything You Need To Know About Insomnia
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What is Insomnia?

     As said above, this condition is a type of sleep disorder. A person with limited sleep will experience difficulties falling or staying asleep. They can also wake up earlier than anticipated. Failure to get enough sleep leads to issues like:
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Generally feeling unwell mentally as well as physically
  • Anxiety, irritability, and mood changes

     In addition, limited sleep can also play a role in the development of chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

Types of Insomnia

     The two types of limited sleep are primary and secondary. The former means that the condition is not linked to any other health problem, and the latter is when you are experiencing sleeping troubles because of a health condition, pain, medication, or substance use.


People who experience limited sleep mainly report these symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up during the night and being unable to get back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning

These symptoms can lead to other symptoms, including:
  • Low motivation or energy
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Mood changes
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness


     The causes of insomnia are either physical or psychological. Most of the time, the condition comes as a result of a temporary problem, like short-term stress. However, it can also be caused by an underlying medical condition.

Common causes of insomnia include:
  • Anything that may change the body’s internal clock, like switching shifts at work
  • Excessive noise, too much heat or cold, or the bed being uncomfortable
  • Bad dreams and night terrors
  • Lack of enough physical exercise
  • Using recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine

     Some people also experience limited sleep due to stress or mental health issues. Some of the mental problems include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

     Some of the health conditions that can cause this condition include an overactive thyroid, gastrointestinal reflux disease, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic pain.

Some of the medications that limit sleep include:
  • Statins
  • Beta-blockers
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors
  • Corticosteroids
  • Statins
  • A combination of glucosamine and chondroitin

     Limited sleep can also result from habits, like using devices screens before bedtime, common among young people.


Doctors can help diagnose the condition through the following:
  • Asking the person about their sleep patterns, use of drugs or alcohol, and medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Requesting an overnight sleep test to record sleep patterns
  • Testing for underlying conditions
  • Using a device that tracks movements and sleep-wake patterns

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition states that a doctor may diagnose limited sleep if:
  • The person is experiencing difficulties falling or staying asleep
  • One has experienced a lack of sleep at least three nights a week for three months, even with sufficient opportunities for sleep
  • The lack of sleep has a negative impact on their daily life
  • No other issue can explain the sleeping problems


     Treatments for limited sleep can be both pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical. The best approach will depend on the type of insomnia and the cause. Some treatment options include:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Counseling
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Prescription medications, like eszopiclone and zolpidem
  • Over-the-counter sleep aids, like diphenhydramine
  • Melatonin

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