Although an occasional night of poor sleep can be common, insomnia is a sleep disorder that includes difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or waking up too early. This may occur multiple nights per week. Insomnia can cause you to feel fatigued, anxious and affect your mood, performance and overall health.
While this can vary, adults generally need seven to eight hours a night. Some people experience several nights of poor sleep patterns which lasts for days or weeks as a result of stress or a traumatic event. This is called acute or transient insomnia because it usually resolves itself. But some people have long-term (chronic) insomnia that lasts for a month or more. Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it could be a reflection of other medical conditions or medications.
Simple changes in your daily habits can often help you improve your sleep.
Insomnia symptoms may include:
Lack of sleep can cause you to fall asleep while driving and result in car accidents. Periods of stopped breathing can, with time, cause high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, stroke and early death.
Chronic insomnia may also be due to underlying medical conditions or the use of certain drugs. Treating the medical condition may help improve sleep, but the insomnia may persist even if the medical condition is resolved.
Additional causes of insomnia include:
There are some special risk groups like elderly patients and post menopausal women in whom insomnia is more common.
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. But your risk of insomnia is greater in:
Lack of quality sleep can affect you both mentally and physically. People with insomnia have a lower quality of life compared with people who are sleeping well.
Complications of insomnia may include:
If your insomnia lasts for more than a few weeks and especially if it is interfering with your ability to work or reducing the quality of your life it may be time to seek sleep consultation with us.
Treatment usually starts with a thorough evaluation for the possible causes underlying your insomnia. Specialists can offer insights and help through cognitive and behavioral treatments which are often longer lasting and superior to medications, although medications may be part of an overall treatment plan.