Insomnia is one of the most common reasons why you spend so many restful nights. This sleep disorder causes problems that also harm your daily life and makes normal functioning quite challenging. Now, if you want to finally get the rest you need, continue reading this article and learn about how to get your restful nights back.
Insomnia Basics and Types
In short, insomnia is a very common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. If left untreated, insomnia leads to long-term sleep deprivation which eventually reduces the quality of life and increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and substance abuse.
The two main types of insomnia are acute and chronic insomnia. The main difference between these two is that acute insomnia is a short-term condition that lasts for a few days or weeks, whereas chronic insomnia causes sleeping issues for at least three days a week that keep repeating for three months or more.
In addition, acute insomnia is mainly caused by stressful life events like divorce, the death of a family member or a loved one, or a serious illness. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, can be caused by long-term stress or an underlying medical condition.
Insomnia Symptoms and Diagnosis
Insomnia is characterized by numerous sleep-related symptoms as well as daytime impairments. That said, common symptoms that may signal insomnia include:
- Issues falling asleep
- Issues staying asleep for the entire night
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Daytime fatigue
- Concentration issues
- Memory problems
- The trouble with school or work performance
- Poor social performance
- Mood swings
- Daytime sleepiness
- Reduced motivation
- Increased mistakes
- Behavioral issues
If you notice any of the above-listed symptoms, ensure you consult your doctor who will ask you specific questions and order tests to determine whether or not you have insomnia.
In general, your doctor would like to know about your sleep habits and medical history and may also ask you to keep a sleep diary or do a sleep study which is a test that rules out other sleep disorders. Just don’t try to self-diagnose as many insomnia symptoms overlap with symptoms of other sleep disorders.
Finally, let’s have a look at how you can treat insomnia and get your restful nights back. Insomnia treatments typically depend on the duration of the sleep issues a person has as well as other specific factors contributing to their sleep problems.
Short-term insomnia, i.e., acute insomnia, may not even need any treatment. Good sleep hygiene practices may be enough to get rid of such sleep problems. That said, here are some of the key healthy sleep habits to follow:
- Stick to a strict sleep schedule
- Use the bed for sleep only
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine
- Make your bedroom sleep-conducive
- Limit screen time before bedtime
- Eat small and light meals close to bedtime
When it comes to long-term insomnia, i.e., chronic insomnia, changing sleep habits won’t be enough to manage and treat the disorder successfully. In this case, the following treatment options may be needed:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
- Sleep medications
- Melatonin supplements
However, if your chronic insomnia is caused by another medical condition like sleep apnea or depression, treating this condition is what it takes to improve your sleep. Just remember that to get your restful nights back it is key that you seek professional medical help sooner than later.