What Is Insomnia?
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) defines insomnia as “difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.” If you have difficulty sleeping at night this may apply to you in some form.
There are various causes of insomnia. Some cases may originate from psychological disorders including depression and anxiety. The nature of these disorders can make it very difficult to sleep with the various changes in hormonal activity. Whether it’s over stimulation or lack of it at all, insomnia can be a result.
The food and drink you intake daily can also lead to insomnia. Partaking of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages and eating large meals before you go to sleep can largely affect your sleep pattern if it becomes a daily habit.
Your daily schedule with late work shifts and school hours can also be a major reason for experiencing insomnia. The rhythm of staying up late for a work shift or homework assignments and trying to make up for it the next day through short naps can really shift around your regular sleeping pattern.
The severity of the insomnia will indicate a certain cause. Psychological disorders, for example, may indicate a more chronic type of insomnia than jet lag or a shift of environments and time zones.
Indicators of insomnia include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Unable to sleep during the night
- Feeling weary after a full night’s sleep
- The inability to focus
As previously mentioned, the severity of symptoms will indicate the severity of the type of insomnia. The inability to sleep may be over a period of a few days or many weeks. The consistency of a particular symptom can be the indicator of a minor or a more major insomnia. If one is only unable to sleep for a few nights or the inability to focus is due to some preparation for a particular exam, it may be a more temporary insomnia. Whereas, the inability to focus and sleep for many months may have a more chronic character and may be linked to a larger issue.
Forms of Insomnia
There are three types of insomnia: transient, acute, and chronic. If any of the symptoms above apply to you and your situation, now is the time to take a look at which type of insomnia you may be experiencing. Transient Insomnia is the most minor form of insomnia. If you are experiencing this type of insomnia, you will be unable to sleep for up to three nights. If you are experiencing Acute Insomnia, you will be experiencing lack of sleep for a few weeks. Chronic Insomnia is the most major type of insomnia and lasts between a number a months to many years. Chronic Insomnia has also been proven to be linked to other issues within the body. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing Chronic Insomnia to see if there are other issues to be diagnosed or analyzed.
How to Treat Insomnia
The severity of your insomnia will determine the type of treatment that will be required. Medication, therapy, and meditation are three of the ways you can treat insomnia.
As far as medication is concerned, there are a widespread of minor and major medications that can be used to treat particular types of insomnia. For minor types of insomnia, melatonin may be used, for example. Sleeping pills and antidepressants can be used for more severe forms of insomnia. However, consult your doctor before venturing into any of these treatments.
Therapy and meditation can also be used in treating insomnia. The exercises performed will aid in regulating a routine sleeping pattern, strengthening the mind, and encouraging and defining relaxation in the body.
- Brandon Doyle