“The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”
― Poppy Z. Brite
What is insomnia?
In modern culture, “insomnia” means the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. You may either have occasional insomnia (also called transient insomnia), which only occurs once in a while, or chronic insomnia – a frequent occurrence of sleepless nights. Classic symptoms of insomnia include:
· feeling fatigued during the day or as if you haven’t slept at all
· sleeping for only short periods of time
· mood swings
· lack of concentration
· being awake for most of the night
Insomnia can cause daytime drowsiness and a lack of energy. It can also cause anxiety, depression, or irritability. If you already suffer from these psychological conditions, insomnia will most certainly make them worse. You may have trouble focusing on daily tasks, such as remembering things, learning, and paying attention. Several recent studies show that insomnia is a major contributor to declining productivity in the workforce. Driving while you are sleep deprive also puts you at a greater risk of dozing off at the wheel getting involved in a car accident.
You can assess the severity of your insomnia by taking the Insomnia Severity Index questionnaire.
What causes insomnia?
Usually, insomnia is a symptom of an underlying condition. Common causes include stress related to work or family, or a traumatic event. Chronic insomnia may be caused by shift work or travel across time zones. Poor sleep hygiene and habits can also result on insomnia. For example, watching TV while trying to fall asleep, not having a set bedtime, and drinking caffeinated beverages after 2 pm are just some examples of poor sleep hygiene. Certain prescription and over the counter medications may also cause insomnia.
How is insomnia diagnosed?
You doctor will examine your medical history, including any underlying conditions that may cause insomnia, as well as the medications you are taking, your sleep habits and history. In certain cases, a sleep study may be recommended.
What are the treatment option for insomnia?
Treatment options vary, depending on the severity and frequency. Addressing the underlying cause of insomnia will usually result in significant improvements in sleep quality. Download my FREE book on how to improve sleep naturally. Be wary of over the counter and prescription medication, as they can be harmful and addictive. Along with lifestyle and sleep hygiene changes, there are a number of supplements that can help you get the good night’s sleep. In certain extreme cases of chronic insomnia, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful.