Insomnia is a sleep disorder that regularly affects million of people worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep in every 24 hours period depending on their age.
Insomnia comes in two ways, as a short term (acute) and as a long term (chronic). Acute insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks but chronic insomnia occurs at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
However, there are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary.
Primary insomnia: this one is not linked to any health condition or problem. This could be caused due to stress related to big life events, like a job loss, the death of a loved one, a divorce, things around like noise, light or temperature.
Secondary insomnia: this one has to do with trouble sleeping because of health complications ( like asthma, cancer, depression, arthritis or heartburn) or substance use ( like alcohol).
Insomnia leads to issues like daytime sleepiness and lethargy, a general feeling of being mentally and physically unwell, mood swings, irritability and anxiety. Did you know that insomnia plays a role in the development of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression etc.
Symptoms of insomnia are: difficulty falling asleep at night, waking up during the night, waking up too early, not feeling well rested after a nights sleep, increased errors or accidents, difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering, ongoing worries about sleep.
Insomnia can be treated. There are both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical ways for treating insomnia. For the pharmaceutical treatment, a doctor or physician is recommended for appropriate prescriptions.
The non-pharmaceutical measures for treatment include: sleep hygiene training, avoiding caffeinated beverages near bedtime, avoiding exercise near bedtime, minimizing time spent on your bed when you are specifically not intending to sleep, create a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath etc. Avoid or limit naps, check your medications to see if they may contribute to insomnia, make your bedroom comfortable for sleep and only use it for sex and sleep.
Remember a healthy life is a wealthy life.