InsomniaInsomnia is a common sleep disorder that plagues millions of people around the globe by not allowing them to sleep. Its severity can range between a couple of days to a couple of months, and is curable in most cases. In any given year, about one-third of all adults suffer from insomnia (Hendrickson 1). Insomnia itself is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying mental or physical condition of the person.
There is not a strict definition for insomnia, but it could be narrowed down to: a person not being able to sleep, having difficulty falling to sleep, or having trouble staying asleep. Medications are available for the treatment of insomnia, but they should not be used on a regular basis. Some thirty-five to forty-five percent of people witness serious bouts of insomnia at some point in their lives, but of that percentage, fewer than twenty-three percent actually seek treatment for the problem (Brogan 2).
There are a wide variety of causes for insomnia, but most experts estimate that three fourths of all cases are psychological (Insomnia 1). One-third to half of all patients with chronic insomnia has an underlying psychiatric illness. Another ten to fifteen percent have a drug or alcohol abuse problem (Hendrickson 1).
One of the most common cause of insomnia is stress, which can be defined as mental or physical tension, as well as the inability to relax (Hauri 92). Anxiety and is also a common cause common. After having high anxiety, many people recover their normal sleep rhythm spontaneously, but other become depressed and develop chronic insomnia (Winter 1). Some insomniacs have trouble sleeping due to an injury or near death experience that happened because they were drowsy. One sleepless night can cause a chain reaction of depression and exhaustion because the next night you might be worried about sleeping and will soon develop chronic insomnia. Many insomniacs try to hard to go to sleep.
They lie awake with thoughts buzzing around in their head making it difficult to fall asleep. Many people who experience insomnia become frustrated, making it even more difficult to fall asleep. After a while insomniacs begin to anticipate bad nights, which makes the condition worse.
Of the physical causes, alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine are the most common. Alcohol may make you fall asleep faster since it is a depressant, but it makes you sleep less soundly and you awake more frequently during the night. Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulants that cause you not to feel sleepy, thus causing you not to sleep well. Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, sodas, and tea (Appendix B). Since caffeine can stay in your body for up to twenty hours, a cup of coffee in the morning or a soda at lunch may greatly affect your sleeping. Caffeine is also found in chocolate and most chocolate products (Appendix A). Eliminating caffeine from your diet could solve your sleep problem even if your insomnia set in without increasing your caffeine intake.
Going without caffeine in your system will give you more restful sleep and you will feel more energized with less sleep (albert 88). It may seem logical to have a large dinner late in the evening since a heavy meal makes you drowsy, but it makes your digestive system work hard, which can keep you up at night (Hauri 120).
Many insomniacs do not realize that sleep is a twenty four-hour system. What you do during your sleep affects your daytime, and what you do during the day affects your sleep. Your sleeping life and your waking life are one, so many factors during the day, and many factors during the night can cause insomnia.
There are many ways to tell if you or someone you know is suffering from insomnia. The symptoms can be broken into two main groups: daytime symptoms, and nighttime symptoms. The daytime symptoms of insomnia and sleep deprivation are similar. The daytime symptoms of insomnia are drowsiness or fatigue, and the difficulty to concentrate. If you feel fatigued on a daily basis it could mean you are suffering from insomnia, or just not getting enough sleep at night.
Not getting enough sleep is also referred to as sleep deprivation. If you are an insomniac, you always feel drowsy during the day, which is extremely dangerous. Driving a car or operating heavy machinery while you are drowsy cause serious injury or death. Sleep loss leads to twenty-five thousand deaths and 2.5 million injuries on the road and elsewhere every year (Why Rest 2).
While the daytime symptoms of insomnia and sleep deprivation are similar, the nighttime symptoms are extremely different. Those who do not get enough sleep fall asleep quickly with great ease. Insomniacs cannot get to sleep very easily. No matter how hard they try to sleep, insomniacs lie awake but motionless for extended periods throughout the night. Many people become frustrated with their loss of sleep, which worsens their condition (Hendrickson 1). According to Brogan, for the insomniac “everything about sleep is a battle ground, the experience becomes a cue for emotions.”
There are three main types of insomnia, each varying in length. There are also other types of insomnia, but they aren’t as common.
Anxiety or being overly excited commonly causes it transient insomnia last one to three days. Nearly everyone suffers from transient insomnia sometime in their lives. Whether it is caused by anxiety over a project that is due, or being extremely exited about something. Transient insomnia is very common for children on Christmas Eve. Short-term insomnia lasts from four nights to three weeks. Short-term insomnia is often caused by stress, a problem in your life, or medication you may be taking. Short-term insomnia that is not treated may easily develop into chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is insomnia that lasts more than three weeks. Frustration over loss of sleep, or a mental or physical condition commonly causes chronic insomnia.
People who travel to places with high attitudes sometimes experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This problem appears to be related to changes in breathing that occur at altitudes above thirteen thousand feet (Zammit 111). Rebound insomnia occurs when withdrawal from a sleeping pill takes place (Hendrickson 1).
Nearly all types of insomnia can be cured, but many sufferers make the mistake of trying to cure their insomnia, not the cause of it.
The first step in curing insomnia is finding out what the cause of it is.
Most insomniacs cannot completely cure insomnia on their own and need the help of a physician. According to Plato, “the greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated (Albert 87).”
Using herbs or natural materials are much safer than medications. Herbs do not make you feel groggy in the morning the way sleeping pills do. The supplements that can be taken to improve your sleeping are calcium, magnesium, vitamin B, and vitamin B6.
If there is no allergy to dairy products, a glass of warm milk before bed provides relaxation (Baar-Shalom 1). Herbs that may help you fall asleep include: chamomile, hops, passion flower, skull cape and valerian (Baar-Shalom 1). Herbs should be taken thirty minutes before bedtime.
Some helpful tips to help you sleeps are to create a comfortable sleep environment, get some exercise, stop worrying, and establish a sleep routine (Zammit 73). Medications are available to help you sleep, but they do not always cure insomnia. Many sleep medications contain barbiturates. Which are also considered to be “street drugs” and are addicting (Insomnia 1). Using low dosages of medications is healthier and overall better for you (Hendrickson 1). Physicians advise that sleeping pills should be taken for no more than two to three weeks at a time (Insomnia: Good Nights 3). A lot of people try melatomine to go to sleep, but a melatomine is a hormone of the body clock, not a hormone of sleep. “It tells your body what time it is. If you are used to going to sleep at night, you’ll sleep. But if you are used to staying up anxious, you’ll stay awake and fret (Brogan 1).” Also, physicians are unsure of the long term affects on the body of taking melatomine, so it is advised not to take it (Insomnia: Good Nights 3).
I have learned a great deal about insomnia and what causes it. I have learned how to prevent it and what is needed to treat it. Doing research on insomnia has helped me learn more about sleep in general and what the consequences of sleep deprivation are. By knowing finding out the different stages of sleep and their importance, I can better understand why my body feels the way it does. Whether I am drowsy or wide awake, I now know exactly what the cause is. When someone thinks they can’t go to sleep, they won’t. It is imperative to go to bed clear minded if you want to get a good night sleep. Finding out information and helpful tips for insomnia will be very useful to me when I or someone I know experiences insomnia. I can use my knowledge that I acquired in diagnosing the type of insomnia that is occurring and what steps are needed to treat it.
The common sleep disorder than prevents people from going to sleep is called insomnia. Insomnia has different levels of severity and is curable for most people who suffer from it.
Of the millions of people that are plagued with insomnia every year, with good sleep hygiene and a little patience, nearly all of them can be cured. Once you get over the fear of insomnia, the disorder can be very easily overcome.