Insomnia Problem, Description, Causes, Types, Symptoms, Natural Remedies, Complications, Lifestyle, Diet and FAQ
Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of sleeping or falling asleep, which is associated with significant difficulty or weakness in daily functioning and the person cannot sleep despite having enough opportunities for falling asleep.
Sleep problems are the most common complaints for adults in primary care. These are related to the concept of overall health conditions reduction and poor health and can have negative effects on personal and social life.
Insomnia Problem and Its Treatment
A general consensus has evolved from population-based studies that about 30% of different adult samples collected from different countries report one or more symptoms of insomnia, they are- Difficulty sleeping, difficulty maintaining sleep, waking up too early, and in some cases, unable to sleep again after waking up or poor quality sleep.
Insomnia is prevalent among 10% to 15% of the general population. While it affects groups of all ages, it is more prevalent in women and older adults who face pre and post menopausal changes. In women, insomnia is more associated and prevalent with menstruation and menopause.
Further this article will discuss the problem of insomnia and other information related to it.
Causes of Insomnia Problem
Individuals who have difficulty dealing with stressful situations or who report being habitual light sleepers tend to have chronic insomnia. High rates of sleep and mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are linked.
Comorbid medical problems such as restless legs syndrome, chronic pain, GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), respiratory problems, and the risk of prolonged insomnia.
Developmental issues during childhood, for example – separation anxiety can lead to a child developing sleep problems.
Some personality traits such as perfectionism, ambitiousness, neuroticism, low extraversion and susceptibility to depression and worry are more likely to develop insomnia over time.
Insomnia is also more common in people with psychosocial stress such as disrupted family life, divorce, wife’s death, and alcohol or substance abuse.
According to the third edition of the international classification of sleep disorders, insomnia is classified as:
1) Chronic insomnia disorder: Sleep disturbance occurs at least three times a week and sleep absence is observed for the last 3 months.
2) Short term insomnia disorder: Sleep disturbance lasts for more than 3 months.
3) Other insomnia disorders: It is a type of insomnia that does not meet the conditions of chronic or short term insomnia symptoms.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Sleep disorders or insomnia can cause a series of problem for the person:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up at night
- Wake up very quickly
- Not feeling enough rested after sleeping at night
- Tiredness or feeling sleepy during day time
- Irritation, Depression or Anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on work or remembering things
- Increased mistakes or accidents
- Ongoing concerns about sleep
Natural Remedies for Insomnia
You can try the following ways to overcome insomnia problem:
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles in the brain. It is produced from serotonin when light exposure decreases at night. It is used in situations where sleep disorders occur due to low levels of melatonin at night such as aging, affecting disorders (such as depression), delayed sleep-stage disorders, or jet lag. Melatonin supplements can improve sleep quality and morning alertness in older adults with insomnia problems.
- Light therapy
Light therapy is used as part of sleep therapy plans. Light plays an important role in directing the body on when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Melatonin production in the body increases after exposure to light which regulates this sleep process.
You can walk outside for 30 minutes in the morning for light therapy. On the other hand, if you notice that you wake up early in the morning or have better sleep-stage symptoms, you may need more light in the afternoon. You may try to walk outside or take light therapy for two to three hours in the afternoon.
Regular meditation habits can help increase sleep by slowing breathing and reducing stress hormone levels. Meditation is a technique that consciously concentrates on an object of focus to develop attention, relax the body, and calm the mind. E.g. long breathing or paying attention to words or random sounds etc.
Yoga is described in Indian philosophy as the union of mind, body and soul. Yoga calms the body and mind and has the ability to overcome sleep disorders resulting from stress. A 2017 study has proved that yoga can relieve insomnia symptoms.
Hypnosis is a condition where a person is more focused, conscious and open to advice. Hypnosis can cause physical changes in the body such as heart rate reduction, blood pressure, and alpha waves like brain patterns, meditation and other forms of deep relaxation. Thus, hypnosis can help you sleep.
Acupuncture and acupressure can help with insomnia. Studies have shown some evidence that acupuncture can help with insomnia, and show mixed evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture. Thus, if both are used together it may bring better results.
- Aromatic oils or Incense
An incense or a few drops of aromatic oil sprinkled around the pillow can help you to fall asleep easily. This processes by calming your mind.
- Quit Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine has a clear impact on sleep. This leads to insomnia and restlessness.
- Reduce Sugar Consumption
Consuming too much sugary food makes blood sugar levels imbalanced. This can lead to sleep disorders. Especially, if your blood sugar level suddenly drops in the middle of the night it can disrupt your sleep.
Eat foods that include the conversion of tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is a naturally occurring Amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin. You can eat foods rich in carbohydrates and vitamin B6 for this.
But remember, although the supplement of L-tryptophan is easily available to buy, it can be dangerous for the body if taken without the concern of a doctor, as it is related to EMS (Eosinophilia-myalgia Syndrome).
- Eat Magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is a natural healer, and some research shows that its supplements can help with insomnia. Magnesium deficiency can lead to difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle vibrations or pain and other problems.
Magnesium is found in large quantities in nuts, dark chocolate, legumes, peas, whole grain food, tofu, avocados, some fatty fish, bananas, green leafy vegetables etc. You can also take magnesium supplements.
- Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is an herbal supplement used to relieve anxiety and calm nerves. It can be helpful in the problem of insomnia.
NOTE: Home remedies may not work for all individuals. In such cases the problem lying within needs proper treatment. Please consult an expert if the provided remedies do not work for you.
Complications of Insomnia
Insomnia is a problem affecting your mental as well as physical condition. People suffering from sleep disorders may face such problems –
- Difficulty in performing tasks in schools or work place,
- Reduced reaction time and higher risk of accidents while driving,
- Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders or substance abuse,
- Increased risk and severity of chronic diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
By the above article you are informed about insomnia problems and related information to it. This information is provided only for knowledge purposes. Please consult your doctor or an expert if your condition gets worse and the remedies provided above do not work for you.
Read Also: Insomnia Problem in Assamese
1) What is an insomnia or sleep disorder?
A- Insomnia is a sleep disorder that refers to any difficulty in sleeping, including difficulty falling asleep, maintaining good sleep, difficulty sleeping even if you have the opportunity for it, waking up early, not being able to sleep again once you wake up, etc.
2) Do women suffer from insomnia more than men?
A- Yes, women suffer more from insomnia than men. Hormones can be responsible for this. Changes in hormones experienced by women during menstruation and menopause can affect their sleep. In such situations women often have hot flashes and night sweats which disturb sleep.
Women may also suffer from this problem during pregnancy. The changes are hormonal, emotional and physical. Women are more likely to develop medical conditions that cause depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and sleep disorders.
3) What is the medical name of lifelong insomnia?
A- The medical name for lifelong insomnia is – ‘Idiopathic Insomnia’.
4) Which doctor should be seen for insomnia?
A- If you are suffering from sleep disorders, approach your family doctor. The family doctor will recommend further treatment to you based on your physical condition and the factors behind this problem. It is advisable to approach a pediatrician in case of children.
5) Can sleep disorders be cured?
A- Insomnia can be cured by changes that patients can make on their own without relying on sleep specialists, prescriptions or drug pills. You can also try Natural remedies.