Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes a person to have difficulty falling asleep, which may include trouble falling asleep; having trouble remaining asleep; waking up too early and not being able to return to sleep

Insomnia can affect people of any age. It can negatively affect certain aspects of life, such as work or school performance, and may also play a role in the incidence of some other mental and physical health problems. 

Let's explore insomnia symptoms, complications, causes, and treatment options.

Insomnia - A Sleep Disorder: Symptoms, Complications, Causes and Treatment

Insomnia - A Sleep Disorder
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder

Insomnia - A Sleep Disorder

Insomnia is not considered a disease, but it is just a disturbance in starting to sleep or waking frequently during sleep at night and it may be annoying when a person is tired and cannot sleep properly.

Insomnia affects millions of people around the world and can be defined as a sleep disorder, which makes a person sleepy, hard to hold, wake up early, and cannot go back to sleep, sometimes accompanied by feeling tired after waking up.

Insomnia can affect people of any age. Some medical studies confirm that women suffer from Insomnia more than men and it progresses with age.

Insomnia greatly affects the lives of those who suffer from it. Their performance at work or school is disturbed; obesity may also cause anxiety, stress, depression, concentration problems, memory problems, and poor immune system.

It should be noted that the number of sleep hours is not fixed for individuals in general, but it can be said that most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Is insomnia a physical or mental illness?

Sleep and mood are closely linked; Inadequate or poor sleep can cause distress, tension, and irritability, while healthy and enough sleep can increase well-being.

Insomnia can be caused by mental and psychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety.
Chronic insomnia can enhance the risk of developing mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Psychological conflicts can make it harder to sleep, insomnia itself can lead to mood swings, and changes in physiology and hormones can lead to both insomnia and psychopathic issues at the same time.

Types of Insomnia

Insomnia is divided into two types depending on the length of time:

 Acute Insomnia: This type is short-lived and lasts for a few days or a week, usually due to stress, depression or traumatic events such as the night of the exam or after hearing the bad news.
Many people experience this kind of transient sleep disorder, and the problem is resolved without the need for treatment.

Chronic Insomnia: Sleep disturbance means at least three nights a week and lasts for at least three months.
Insomnia may be the underlying problem, or it may be related to a health condition, a psychological problem.

Symptoms of Insomnia

There are many symptoms associated with insomnia, including:
  • Difficulty sleeping at night. 
  • Waking up at night frequently.
  • Waking early despite the desire to sleep.
  • Feeling tired and sleepy despite sleeping at night.
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety.
  • Weak focus.
  • Increase in errors and accidents.
  • The difficulty of social interaction.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Anxiety about sleep.

Causes of Insomnia

There are many conditions and habits that cause insomnia, including:

Stress: Work, school, health, or family anxiety keeps the mind active during the night; it is difficult to sleep.
Also, the problems of life and crises experienced by man may cause insomnia such as the death of loved ones, divorce, loss of work and others.

Travel or work schedule: The body has an internal clock that regulates human sleep and wakes up, metabolic processes in his body and temperature.
This clock is called Circadian Rhythms, and any malfunction in these systems which can lead to insomnia, such as when the timing varies due to jet lag, shift work, and so on.

Bad sleep habits: Unhealthy sleep habits may cause insomnia without major health or psychological problem, and may make the problem of insomnia already worse than before.
Examples of such habits include unorganized sleep times and naping after even if it is short, and activities that increase human activity before sleep, as well as the uncomfortable sleeping environment and the use of bedding for the needs of non-sleep, such as work, eating and watching television and others may also cause insomnia.

Mental health disorders: Many people are concerned about past and future events, which can cause insomnia.
Depression and insomnia are closely related; depression can cause insomnia, and each worsens the other.

Medications: Some types of painkillers, sedatives and caffeine-containing sedatives may cause sleep problems in addition to some antidepressants, asthma medications, blood pressure medications, and others.

Medical conditions: Sometimes, certain medical conditions - either in themselves or in the resulting symptoms - cause insomnia.
Examples include chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, asthma, hyperthyroidism, hyperactive thyroid, and low back pain, as well as certain neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Sleep Disorders: There are some disorders that negatively affect a person's sleep, such as sleep apnea, due to obstruction of his airways, and also Restless Leg Syndrom (a condition that is related to sleep) a nervous origin gives an irresistible desire to move the legs.

Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Drinking caffeine in reasonable amounts and in the morning may increase the individual's energy and productivity, but eating caffeine-containing beverages in large amounts or late in the day may cause insomnia because caffeine is a stimulant in the body for eight hours.
Nicotine is also a stimulant and forms the main part of smoking products that are destructive to health. As for alcohol consumption, it helps sleep at first but prevents sleep stages.

Eating plenty of food at night: Eating too much food or eating fatty foods in the near future causes you to feel uncomfortable, and therefore have trouble sleeping.
Late dinner and some foods may cause acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus, or so-called heartburn, which will also hinder sleep.

Risk factors of Insomnia

Almost everyone suffers a sleepless night at times. But the risk of insomnia is greater if:

You are a woman: Hormonal changes during menstruation and menopause may play a role. During menopause, night sweats often hinder hot flashes and sleep. Insomnia is also common with pregnancy.

You are over 60: Because of changes in sleep patterns, insomnia increases with age.

You are suffering from mental disorders: Many of the mental or physical health issues that affect your mental or physical health can cause sleep disturbance.

You are under great stress: Hard times and painful events can cause temporary emptiness. Major or prolonged stress may lead to chronic insomnia.

You do not have a regular schedule: For example, changing shifts in work or travel may disrupt the sleep cycle and wake up.

Insomnia and aging

Insomnia becomes more common with age. As you grow older, you may suffer:

Changes in sleep patterns: Sleep often becomes less deep as you age so you may be awakened by noise or changes in your environment. Your inner watch often advances with age, feeling tired early in the evening and waking up early in the morning. But older people generally need the same amount of sleep as young people.

Changes in activity: This may be less physically or socially active. Lack of activity can prevent you from sleeping well at night. The less you do, the more likely you are to take a nap every day, which can keep you from sleeping at night.

Changes in health: Chronic pain causes such as arthritis or back problems as well as depression or anxiety, can interfere with sleep. Cases that increase the need to urinate during the night - such as prostate or bladder problems - can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restlessness syndrome are more common with age.

Taking drugs excessively: Older people use prescribed drugs more than young people, increasing the chance of drug-related insomnia.

Insomnia in children and adolescents

Sleep problems in children and adolescents may also be a concern. However, some children and adolescents simply have trouble sleeping or resisting normal sleep because of late hours. They want to go to bed late and sleep late in the morning.

Complications of Insomnia

Sleep is just as important to your health as the importance of a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Whatever the reasons for your lack of sleep, insomnia may adversely affect your mental and physical health.
People with insomnia reported that their quality of life was low compared to those who had enough sleep.
Complications of insomnia may include:
  • Poor performance at work or study
  • The slow reaction during driving and increased risk of accidents
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or substance abuse
  • Increased risk of long-term illness or medical conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease

Treatment of Insomnia

Insomnia is treated on the basis of its cause. Many cases are treated after the underlying cause is treated correctly.
There are two types of treatments for insomnia, behavioral therapy, and medical treatment.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is the first line of therapy. The cognitive part helps to identify and change beliefs that affect sleep ability and control ideas and fears that keep a person awake. The behavioral part helps to develop good sleep habits, and avoid behaviors that affect sleep negatively. Measures of behavioral therapy include:

Stimulus control therapy: This method helps to eliminate the factors that adapt the brain to resistance to sleep.
For example, the patient is trained to set regular dates for sleep and wake up, and advises the patient to avoid siesta, and use of bed to sleep. And leave the bedroom if the patient cannot sleep within twenty minutes.

Relaxation techniques: Relaxation of progressive muscles and breathing exercises reduce anxiety during sleep.
The exercise of these techniques helps control breathing, heart rate, muscle, and mood, and thus helps sleep.
Relaxing before bedtime expels negative thoughts, negative charges and wheezing positive sentiments that excite anxiety and tension, such as reading sleep calls or practicing yoga, and not thinking about anything other than that you deserve to have a rest, breathing properly for five minutes.
Pull the largest amount of air out of the nose and hold it for five seconds and expel it from the mouth, run this process for five minutes and you will see the result difference.

Sleep restriction: This treatment reduces sleep time during the day and avoids siesta; reduces bedtime.

Remaining passively awake: also known as Paradoxical Intention aims to reduce anxiety and fear of being unable to sleep by going to bed and trying to stay awake rather than sleep.

Medical Treatment - Drug Therapy

Sleeping pills prescribed by the doctor can help you sleep or continue to sleep properly, or both, and some are not recommended for more than a few weeks because of side effects such as daytime Grogginess, increased risk of falls.
Even those over-the-counter medicines that help sleep cannot be taken without a doctor's advice, such as antihistamines, for side effects such as drowsiness during the day, dizziness, confusion, cognitive impairment and difficulty urinating.

Preventing Sleep Problems

Avoid sleeping habits sound insomnia and help you sleep deeply:

Set your sleep time and wake up early morning every day, even on weekends.
Stay active - Staying active in different activities helps you get a good night's sleep.
Check whether the drugs you are taking are causing insomnia.
Avoid taking a nap or reduce its time.
Avoid drinking or reduce stimulants and alcohol, and move away from nicotine.
Avoid eating large meals and drinks before sleeping.
Prepare your room so that you are comfortable to sleep and use it only for intimate exercise or sleep only.
Follow the routine which can help to relax before sleeping, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to quiet music.
The Scientific World

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