August 11 2021
Insomnia is one of the most commonly occurring sleep disorders causing extreme fatigue and anxiety to a large population all around the world as this condition leads to people having trouble falling asleep as well as staying asleep. Insomnia can affect the quality of life as it makes the person irritable, depressed, and tired all the time. Insomnia is also associated with a decreased concentration and leads to mood swings, which increases the risk of developing blood pressure and diseases like diabetes.
Based on the duration of sleeplessness, insomnia is of two types - acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is a short term lack of sleep and can occur as a result of various factors such as stress and depression. In most patients, acute insomnia does not need any medical intervention and resolves by itself. Sleeplessness that continues for more than three months is classified as chronic insomnia. The causative factors include environmental changes, lifestyle modifications, shift timings at work, and underlying chronic illnesses.
Causes of insomnia
Some of the most common causes of insomnia include pain such as toothache, abdominal pain, and other such conditions that cause sleeplessness until the inflammation reduces. Poor eating habits cause an impairment in metabolism and inhibit the smooth regulation of metabolic activities which causes insomnia. Traveling to and from a different time zone causes jet lag and impairs the circadian rhythm and causes insomnia. Stress, anxiety, and depression lead to loss of sleep.
Biological factors such as aging cause significant changes in the sleep pattern and affect the quality and quantity of sleep. Hormonal imbalances especially in conditions such as pregnancy and menopause also cause sleep disturbances. Many medical conditions also contribute to insomnia such as asthma, arthritis, gastric problems, hyperglycemia, hyperthyroidism, prostate disorders, angina, congestive cardiac failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, side effects of medications, excessive intake of caffeine and nicotine and lack of physical activity.
Symptoms and effects of insomnia
Some of the most commonly associated symptoms associated with insomnia include difficulty in falling asleep, trouble in maintaining sleep, sleeping at day time, constant feeling of tiredness throughout the day, not feeling refreshed after waking up, waking up several times during the night.
Sleep deprivation may lead to serious health problems as it affects the normal functioning of the body. Some of them include cardiovascular disease, headaches, decreased energy levels, reduced attention span, decreased memory and concentration, lack of coordination, loss of motivation, loss of ability to do daily activities, difficulty in socializing, impaired immune system, and gastrointestinal disorders.
The risk factors for developing insomnia include age as those in the higher age bracket have a higher risk of developing sleep disorders due to lifestyle modifications such as decreased physical activity, use of several medications to treat age-related diseases, and the presence of other underlying health conditions. Women are generally at a higher risk of getting sleep disturbances due to the hormonal changes which may occur as a result of pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. Lifestyle changes like shift work, smoking, alcohol consumption, drinking excessive caffeine are likely to cause insomnia. Side effects of some medications like steroids, theophylline, phenytoin, and levodopa may lead to insomnia.
Treatment of insomnia
The main aim of treating sleep disorders is to get a cure for the underlying health problems. Narrowing and correctly diagnosing the conditions which are responsible for causing and worsening insomnia help in treating insomnia and also provide the desired healthier lifestyle. The line of treatment of insomnia involves combining medications along with cognitive behaviour therapies.
Cognitive behaviour therapy
- Stimulus control therapy involves implementing various behavioural modifications that are applied to induce sleep. Some of the actions which may help in acting as sleep triggers include going to bed only when we can stay awake no longer, going to the bedroom only when we feel sleepy, maintaining regular sleep and wake up timings, not sleeping in the afternoon, exercising daily, avoiding excessive caffeine and not having high-intensity lights in the sleeping area.
- Sleep restriction therapy consists of keeping in control the duration spent in bed and avoiding sleeping during the daytime.
- Relaxation therapy includes incorporating muscle relaxation exercises such as attention focusing methods promote falling asleep faster and also reduce awakening during sleep especially in those with stress.
Home remedies for insomnia
Taking charge of peaceful sleeping patterns can be achieved by using techniques such as mindfulness meditation which consists of slow and steady breathing. This method helps to improve memory and concentration, decreases stress levels, and also boosts immunity. Doing yoga regularly has been found to have a positive effect on improving the quality of sleep. It also helps in improving body functions and causes relief from stress. Intake of magnesium in the diet has been found to help in muscle relaxation and relieving stress. Lavender oil is effective in improving the mood, causes pain relief, and promotes sleep. Melatonin is extremely beneficial in improving sleep patterns and it is found to be best effective when ingested half an hour before going to bed. Alvizia healthcare melatonin capsule supplements enable insomniacs to fall asleep quickly and also improve sleep quality.
By developing healthy sleeping schedules, we can avoid insomnia. Some of the useful sleeping habits include sleeping only when we are exhausted, consumption of warm milk before going to sleep, rendering the bedroom atmosphere quiet and dark, avoiding exercising just before sleep, using the bedroom only for sleeping, not consuming large quantities of food and water just before sleeping, not drinking caffeine and other aerated drinks before bedtime, sticking to a regular schedule of sleep and wake up cycle and avoiding irregularities especially during the weekends, controlling the urge to read, watch television and using mobile phones on the bed, avoiding afternoon naps for a duration more than 30 minutes and having a warm bath before sleeping.