Definition of insomnia, Signs & symptoms and Home remedies for insomnia

Definition of insomnia

Insomnia is a condition when you find it very difficult to sleep, cannot sleep well or both. In fact, this condition can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep.

Under certain conditions, adults may experience acute insomnia that lasts for days or weeks. Usually, this happens as a result of a stressful situation.

However, there are also those who experience chronic insomnia, which is when this condition lasts a long time. If this is the case, you may be experiencing it because of certain health problems or the effects of the medication you are taking.

If you experience this sleep disorder, you will wake up tired. This will certainly have an impact on your activities the next day. Therefore, if you experience this condition, it is better to immediately check your health condition to the doctor.

How common is insomnia?

A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that 27% of patients who participated in the survey stated that they had “difficulty sleeping”. This condition is also more common in female patients than male patients.

This is presumably because women are more sensitive to change, so they are more prone to anxiety and depression. Well, both of these are medical health problems that have the potential to cause insomnia.

However, insomnia can affect patients in any age group. However, the chances are increasing in people who are elderly. To overcome this, try to reduce the risk factors you may have.

Signs & symptoms of insomnia

This sleep disorder is characterized by difficulty falling asleep. However, there are also other symptoms that may accompany. Common signs and symptoms of insomnia include:

1. Difficulty getting to sleep at night.
2. Often wakes up in the middle of the night or wakes up very early.
3. Wake up with a tired body.
4. Often sleepy and tired during the day.
5. Irritable, depressed, or anxious/nervous.
6. Problems paying attention, having trouble focusing on tasks, and having trouble remembering.
7. Headache and headache feeling tense.
8. Pressure in the stomach and intestines.
9. Worries about sleep.

There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned. If you have concerns about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.

When should you see a doctor?

For less serious conditions, insomnia can go away in just a few days. Moreover, if you already know the cause of insomnia and the right way to deal with it. However, you need to do further checks if:

1. This sleep disturbance occurs for more than four weeks to interfere with daily activities.
2. You often wake up in the middle of the night startled or out of breath.
3. You experience other conditions that are quite disturbing to sleep, such as heartburn, muscle pain, and uncomfortable sensations in the body when trying to sleep.

If in the end, this condition causes you to be unable to move during the day, immediately consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis. That way, you will find out what the cause is and get the appropriate treatment.

Causes of insomnia

There are many things that can cause you to have trouble sleeping, including:

1. Stress

One of the main causes of insomnia is stress or a lot of thoughts. If you’re thinking about many things, from work, health, and financial problems, to family problems, there’s a good chance that you’re awake and can’t sleep at night.

Not only that, this condition can also occur when you have just experienced a stressful situation. For example, the loss of a loved one, divorce, or leaving a job.

2. Changed activity schedule

The circadian rhythm or the body’s biological clock regulates the ‘work clock’ of the body’s organs. This means, your body is used to certain rhythms, such as when to sleep and wake up, when your metabolism takes place, to body temperature.

Disrupted circadian rhythms can cause you to experience insomnia. Usually, this condition occurs when there is a change in your activity schedule. For example, traveling abroad, changing sleep patterns due to job changes, and many more.

3. Bad sleeping habits

You may not realize it, but poor sleep habits can be the cause of insomnia. For example, an uncertain sleep schedule, uncomfortable sleeping conditions, to the habit of working in bed.

Yes, activities such as using a laptop, watching television, playing games, or other activities that make you stare at the screen constantly can disrupt the sleep cycle. If it occurs continuously, you can experience insomnia.

4. Eating too much at night

Actually, there’s nothing wrong with eating snacks before bed. However, eating large amounts of food can make you uncomfortable when lying down.

In fact, not a few people experience heartburn, to the point of vomiting because lying down after eating. Therefore, eating too much at night can be one of the causes of insomnia.

5. Mental disorders

Did you know that having a mental disorder can also be a cause of insomnia? Yes, some mental disorders such as anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can interfere with your sleep.

Not being able to sleep well can also be a sign that you are depressed. You may need to check with your doctor for mental health conditions if you have insomnia.

6. Chronic diseases and other diseases

There are several health problems that are also often associated with insomnia. For example, chronic disease, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

But not only that, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an overactive thyroid gland, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s can also be the cause of sleeplessness.

7. Habit of consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

Consuming coffee, tea, and soft drinks can cause you to experience insomnia. The reason is, these drinks contain caffeine which is a stimulant so that it can make you awake and unable to sleep.

In addition, the nicotine found in cigarette products also has the same impact. Meanwhile, alcohol may make you fall asleep, but not sleep well. In fact, alcohol can make you often wake up in the middle of the night.

8. Use of drugs

There are several types of drugs that can interfere with your sleep. Some of these include antidepressants and medications to treat asthma and blood pressure. In addition, pain relievers, allergy medications, and cold medications can also cause you to have trouble sleeping at night.

9. Aging

Believe it or not, insomnia can be as you get older. The reason is, when you enter old age, there are many changes that you will experience. Starting from changes in health conditions, changes in activity, to sleep habits.

Therefore, than young people, the elderly are more prone to insomnia. To prevent this, adopt a healthy lifestyle for the elderly that can help you sleep better.

Insomnia risk factors

There are many risk factors for insomnia, such as:

1. Gender

Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and menopause can cause several symptoms, one of which is insomnia. In addition, this condition also often appears when women are pregnant. This is a sign, insomnia is more common in women than men.

2. Age

Basically, this condition can happen to anyone. However, the risk of having trouble sleeping is higher as you get older. Usually, this condition often occurs in the elderly who are aged 60 years and over due to changes in sleep patterns and health problems.

3. Hereditary factors

If a family member, especially a parent, has insomnia, you are at greater risk of developing the condition than anyone else. Yes, this condition can occur from generation to generation in the family.

4. Lifestyle

There are several lifestyles that may increase your risk of developing insomnia, including daily habits and activities. If you often sleep during the day or watch television as you approach bedtime, you are at greater risk of developing this condition.

Complications of insomnia

Sleep is a need that you must fulfill so that the system in the body can work normally. If sleep disturbances continue to occur, not only physical health will have a negative impact, but mental health will also be disturbed.

This causes the quality of life of people with sleep disorders to decrease. Some of the possible complications of insomnia include:

1. Performance at school or at work will decline.
2. The reaction to respond to something becomes slower so there is a high risk of accidents.
3. Can develop psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders.
4. Increase the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart disease because the body’s biological clock changes.

Insomnia diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.

What are the usual tests for insomnia?

Usually, before carrying out tests to diagnose your condition, the doctor will conduct a medical history examination. At that time, the doctor will ask about the symptoms that appear, the risk factors you have, medical history, to family medical history.

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination to rule out health problems that may be causing you to experience insomnia. The doctor will also examine your heart and lungs to look for other risk factors that you may have.

Not only that, there are several tests that the doctor will do, such as:

1. Actigraphy to measure the quality of your sleep.
2. Research into sleep disorders, such as circadian rhythm disease, sleep apnea, to narcolepsy that you may experience.
3. Blood tests to check for thyroid gland problems and other health problems that can cause insomnia.

What are my treatment options for insomnia?

Here are some insomnia treatments that can be an option:

1. Drug use

You can treat insomnia with sleeping pills. Usually, the doctor will prescribe medication according to the type of insomnia you are experiencing. However, be sure to always discuss the benefits and side effects of using the drug before using it.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, here are some types of sleeping pills you can use to treat insomnia:

1. Benzodiazepines, to form good sleep habits.
2. Benzodiazepine receptor agonists, such as zolpidem, zaleplon, and eszopiclone.
3. Melatonin receptor agonists, such as ramelteon.
4. Orexin receptor antagonists, such as suvorexant.

2. Cognitive behavioral therapy

Apparently, there is a cognitive behavioral therapy specifically to treat insomnia. This therapy generally lasts 6-8 weeks to make you sleepy faster and stay asleep longer.

Interestingly, this therapy does not always have to be done face-to-face. This means you can do this therapy with a doctor, nurse, or therapist over the phone or online. There are several stages of therapy for this insomnia, as follows:

1. Cognitive therapy, to make you more relaxed and positive thinking while going to sleep.
2. Meditation and relaxation therapy, to teach you to sleep faster.
3. Learning to sleep, to help you get used to good sleep habits.
4. Sleep restriction therapy, to limit the time you spend in bed, whether you’re sleeping or not.
5. Therapy controls stimuli, to help you have the same wake and sleep times each day.

Home remedies for insomnia

In addition to undergoing treatment, you need to make lifestyle changes to get better sleep quality. There are several things you can do, such as the following:

1. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
2. Do sports and active activities to get a good night’s sleep.
3. Check any medications you are taking to make sure any medications are causing sleeplessness.
4. Avoid or limit nap hours.
5. Avoid consuming caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
6. Do not ignore the pain, and immediately consult a doctor so as not to disturb your sleep.
7. Quit smoking because the nicotine content increases the risk of insomnia.
8. Do not eat large amounts of food near bedtime.
9. As much as possible make the bed more comfortable.
10. Looking for ways to relax and unwind before bed.
11. Do not be in bed when you still want to do other activities.

By applying some of these things, you can help treatment and treatment for insomnia become more effective. This certainly helps you to be free from sleep problems that interfere with daily activities.

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