TL:DR – Insomnia affects a huge number of us all, including one half of our husband and wife team here. Well, we both suffer. One suffer from bouts of insomnia, the other suffers from bouts of rage. I’m writing this while hiding from the insomniac as we speak. She’s terrifying when I type loudly. Before she hears me, we spoke to our medical editor, Shahzaib Ahmed from the King Edward Medical University, to explain more about it all, from the causes, symptoms and importantly, how to beat insomnia.
Table of Contents
What is insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep. Patients suffering from Insomnia face issues in falling asleep as well as staying asleep. It’s surprisingly common and there are a number of factors behind it.
In May 2020, it was found that the prevalence of insomnia among sleep disorder patients was 28 percent.
Types Of Insomnia
Based on the onset and persistence of the disease insomnia is divided into three main categories:
This type usually lasts for less than a month and is caused by stress. The removal of the stimulus i.e. stress results in the resolution of the issues.
Acute Insomnia is also referred to as Adjustment Insomnia.
As the name suggests, this type lasts for a longer period (more than a month). It may last for years or even a lifetime. This type arises due to some chronic medical conditions (psychiatric).
Transient insomnia is the outcome of changes in the environment and lifestyle. Stress and depression may be contributors but it only lasts for a short period i.e. less than a week.
Other types of insomnia include Onset and Maintenance Insomnia where the trouble is faced in initiating and maintaining sleep respectively. Behavioral insomnia of childhood is also a prevalent type.
Signs And Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia presents itself as:
- Difficulty falling and maintaining sleep
- Disturbed sleep
- A lack of concentration and irritability
- Problems with memory and fatigue
- Frequent headaches
Causes And Risk Factors Of Insomnia
Risk factors are the factors that make an otherwise healthy patient more prone to having insomnia. On the other hand, certain factors are direct causative agents of the disease.
People with these factors are more prone to have insomnia:
Stress due to the occupation (lower income)
It was found in a study on Japanese workers that self-anxiousness is linked to insomnia and self-analysis can lead to an improvement.
In a survey of Brazilian adolescents, it was established that increased TV viewing time and having a sedentary lifestyle increases the chances of getting Insomnia.
Night duties and long shifts
People who work long night shifts are likely to develop insomnia. This may be attributed to the disruption of the natural circadian rhythm. A study showed that nurses who work on rotating night schedules had lower scores for quality and quantity of sleep. Thus, making it an evident risk factor for insomnia.
Frequent traveling between different time zones
Travel fatigue and jet lag are common issues when traveling between different time zones. Therefore, frequent traveling plays a role in affecting the sleep-wake cycle.
This can increase the risk of insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
The aspects that cause insomnia include can be primary or secondary. Primary causes are disassociated with any underlying medical condition while secondary insomnia is due to underlying health conditions, or drugs.
This is one of the most evident causes of stress. In a meta-analysis, a correlation between insomnia and high levels of job stress was found out. The study also showed that lack of social support is a reason.
The stress of any kind disrupts sleep leading to insomnia.
Jet lag also causes insomnia. People who fly through various time zones end up having insomnia due to a disturbed circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion, a study suggests.
There are a number of underlying health conditions that can lead to insomnia. This includes depression and anxiety. In a clinical study, insomnia was considered as an outcome of clinical depression.
Arthritis and back pain are also contributors to insomnia. Patients of Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis find it difficult to cope with stress. In a case-control study carried out in Poland, a link was established between arthritis and insomnia.
This includes certain medicinal drugs (medications for colds, hypertension, and asthma) and alcohol, caffeine, etc.
Alcohol is a sedative that can make you feel sleepy but in reality, it worsens your sleep.
Complications Of Insomnia
Insomnia is not just a sleep disorder. It impacts your overall health and performance. Sleep deprivation is linked to different health complications. In this section, we are going to talk about quite how insomnia can affect your health.
The inability to sleep causes impaired brain function. A detailed study on Chronic Ischemia Disease patients was carried out which showed that Chronic Insomnia results in altered brain function.
This is manifested as impairment in the cognitive and emotional function of the brain.
Sleep deficiency impairs your learning process too. Treating insomnia is linked with improvements in the learning capabilities of insomniac children.
Insomnia is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Maintenance insomnia in which a short duration of sleep is seen is most likely to result in heart diseases.
Persistent disturbed sleep can do lots of damage to your body. This includes obesity and weight gain. Having a deep sleep and a good duration is necessary for maintaining an ideal weight.
Short sleeps may lead to weight gain and obesity.
Insomnia can disrupt the glucose levels of the body. This disruption can make diabetic conditions worse for you. Type 2 Diabetes is associated with insomnia.
Growth In Children
Sleep allows growth in young kids. Growth hormones are released during the deep sleep stage. These hormones boost growth and also repair cells. Sleep derivation resists the release of growth hormone in lab rats, a study suggests.
Therefore, good sleep is necessary for optimal growth.
What To Do? How To Cure Insomnia
As insomnia has serious negative implications, it is necessary to treat it. Acute and Transient insomnia do not need treatment in most cases.
Chronic Insomnia needs to be treated. There are different ways of treating it.
Either you can go for a non-pharmacological natural strategy or opt for a pharmacological approach. From mediation at the pharmacy to natural sleep remedies.
This involves different therapies and home remedies.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an effective strategy in managing depression and anxiety patients. Managing mental health conditions is very effective in improving sleep conditions.
A study suggests that CBT-I i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is a potent treatment for both insomnia and comorbid depression.
This can be paired with Relaxation therapy for better results. In this therapy, patients are recommended different exercises to achieve physical and mental relaxation.
Stimulus control therapy and Sleep restriction therapy can also be used for the purpose.
Sleep Hygiene Training And Education
Sleep Hygiene Training is beneficial in bringing about sleep in soccer players who suffer from late-onset of sleep.
Sleep Hygiene education is easy to get and implement. It is a low-cost treatment that is effective in dialysis patients.
It was found in a study that Cognitive training and sleep hygiene interventions are beneficial at bringing improvements in the quality of sleep in old age patients. Thus, a combination of both is potent.
Accupressure is a treatment from Traditional Chinese Medicine can also be employed to treat insomnia. This treatment option is approved by the FDA.
Lifestyle And Dietary Modifications
Some changes in lifestyle and your diet can go a long way in improving the onset and quality of your sleep.
- You should avoid caffeine-containing beverages before going to bed.
- Avoiding gadget use on the bed is a must. Blue light from a smartphone can deteriorate your circadian rhythm and sleep too.
- Minimize your time spent on gadgets and Television.
- Avoid any exertion just before bedtime.
- Try doing some meditation before going to sleep.
- Pay attention to making your bed. This includes decreasing the light to a minimum, select an ideal-sized pillow, turn the temperature to an optimum.
If you don’t seem to find any advantages from the non-pharmacological interventions we suggest you take some medicinal aids for the purpose.
Some drugs have been shown to be effective against insomnia. This includes:
- Benzodiazepines and Benzodiazepine agonists (Zolpidem) are effective in bringing about sleep and reducing anxiety.
- Melatonin receptor agonists (Ramelteon) has some side effects but is effective in inducing sleep.
- Melatonin Supplements are also available in the market.
- Orexin receptor agonists (Suvorexant) helps you fall asleep easily.
- Antihistamines (Benadryl) are often used in Insomnia patients.
Where To Find The Best Supplements?
Finding the right sleeping supplements is tough. But you don’t need to worry because Sleeping Tablets offers a wide variety of sleeping pills as per your needs.
You can get yourself a Herbal combination pill, Melatonin tablets, and many more sleeping aid pills from us here online.
Insomnia is a prevalent disease of old age. It is frequently found in people who have stress and anxiety issues and in those who work long night shifts.
You may experience difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty in maintaining sleep. The disease is linked to an increased risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and growth issues in children.
The transient and acute forms of the disease go away when the stimulus (mostly stress) is removed but proper treatment is required for Chronic Insomnia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Sleep hygiene training can be of help. Sleeping aid supplements have promising results in combating insomnia and helping you achieve a good night’s sleep.