Author: Monique Herb, Regional Manager
Quality sleep plays a critical role in your health and overall well-being. Not getting the sleep you need on a regular basis can have a pretty big impact on your mental and physical health, not to mention quality of life.
About a third of all adults report some insomnia symptoms and 6 to 10 percent of adults have symptoms severe enough to meet the diagnostic criteria for an insomnia disorder.
You can typically recognize insomnia by the following symptoms:
– Waking up too early and finding yourself unable to fall back asleep
– Spending a lot of the night lying awake and worrying you won’t fall asleep
– A consistent pattern of interrupted or broken sleep that doesn’t refresh you
– Trouble falling asleep after going to bed
As a result, you might begin to experience other symptoms related to lack of sleep, including:
– Irritability and other mood changes
– Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
There are several types of insomnia. Experts describe insomnia in a few different ways, depending on its specific characteristics:
– Acute Insomnia: Refers to short-term sleeping difficulties that generally last no more than a few weeks.
– Chronic Insomnia: Refers to insomnia that affects your sleep for 3 or more days each week on a regular basis, typically for a period of 3 months or longer.
– Onset Insomnia: Describes difficulty falling asleep. Trouble getting to sleep might happen as a result of caffeine use, mental health symptoms, or other common insomnia triggers, but it can also develop with other sleep disorders.
– Maintenance Insomnia: Refers to trouble remaining asleep once you get to sleep, or consistently waking up too early. This type of insomnia might relate to underlying health and mental health symptoms — but lying awake and worrying you won’t get enough sleep can make it worse.
– Behavioral Insomnia: This in childhood involves consistent trouble falling asleep, refusing to go to bed, or both. Children with this condition often benefit from learning self-soothing strategies and following a regular sleep routine.
Typically, the type of insomnia you experience has a lot to do with the underlying causes of insomnia. Possible causes of acute insomnia, for example, might include:
– An upsetting or traumatic event
– Changes to your sleep habits, like sleeping in a hotel, new home, or with a partner for the first time
– Physical pain or illness
– Jet lag
– Certain medications
Chronic insomnia can occur on its own or as a result of:
– Chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis or back pain
– Psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, or substance use disorders
– Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
– Health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or cardiovascular disease
When considering a diagnosis of insomnia, a healthcare professional will generally ask questions about:
– Any existing medical conditions
– Physical and mental health symptoms you’ve noticed
– Stressors in your personal or professional life
– Sleep history, including how long you’ve had insomnia symptoms and how they affect your daily life
This information can help them determine the underlying causes of your sleep problems. They may also ask you to keep a sleep log for 2 to 4 weeks, tracking:
– What time you go to bed
– The approximate time it takes you to fall asleep
– Any instances of repeated waking in the night
– What time you wake up each day
They can also order medical tests or blood work to help rule out medical conditions that can interfere with your sleep. If they suspect you could have an underlying sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea, they may recommend participating in a sleep study.
Insomnia isn’t just a nuisance or small inconvenience. It’s a sleep disorder that can affect both your mental and emotional health along with physical well-being.
If you think you have insomnia, connect with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They can help you explore possible causes and offer support with finding the best insomnia treatment for your needs.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.