It’s late at the night and, everyone is fast asleep, except for you. You’re still awake, staring at the ceiling, thinking about work, or bills, or the kids. Sleep just won’t come. This has been on for some days and you’re quite concerned, not just because you don’t get as much sleep as you want but also because your productivity during the day is on the decline.
Quality sleep is very vital for your health, because it helps your body function at its best. It can help your body control blood sugar levels, keep your immune system functioning well and even boost your heart health.
In this blog post, we will focus on insomnia, discussing its causes and symptoms. In the next post, we will discuss possible remedies that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Finally, we discuss the options you can consider if the natural remedies do not work.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to feel refreshed when waking up.
This sleep disorder is classified as either primary or secondary.
Primary insomnia, also known as idiopathic insomnia, occurs in the absence of any other underlying medical conditions.
Secondary insomnia occurs as a symptom or side effect of a health condition, a medication, or substance use (e.g. alcohol, or caffeine).
Insomnia can also be either acute or chronic.
Acute insomnia is a brief episode of insomnia caused by a life event, such as a radical change in your job, receiving bad news, temporary pain or travel. This often resolves with little or no treatment.
- Insomnia is considered chronic when the symptoms have persisted for at least three nights per week for three months or longer.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia is often associated with the following factors:
- Stress and anxiety.
- An uncomfortable sleeping environment such as a stuffy, hot, cold, noisy or overly lighted bedroom.
- Lifestyle and behavioral factors such as jet lag, shift work, drinking alcohol or stimulants like caffeine before going to bed.
- Health conditions such as heart problems, chronic diseases, menopause, or depression.
- Certain medicines like antidepressants, anti-epileptics, or steroids.
SYMPTOMS OF INSOMNIA
If you have insomnia, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Waking up several times during the night and having difficulty going back to sleep.
- Waking up much earlier in the morning than you desire.
- Feeling tired instead of refreshed when you wake up and feeling dissatisfied with sleep.
- Finding it difficult to nap during the day even when you are tired.
- Low energy and decreased productivity at work or in school.
- Difficulty concentrating, irritability, anxiety and mood fluctuation.