Insomnia is a complicated condition where in a person has difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep even when the person has the chance to sleep. People with this condition are not satisfied with their sleep. They usually experience one or more of the insomnia symptoms like low energy, mood disturbances, fatigue, decrease in performance at school or in work and difficulty concentrating.
In some cases, insomnia itself may be a symptom of any underlying health condition. Below are some of the insomnia symptoms:
- Problem falling asleep especially at night
- Waking up early
- Irritability, anxiety or depression
- Staying awake at night
- Fatigue or sleepiness during the day
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Feeling of tiredness even after a night’s sleep
- Worry about sleep
- Difficulty in socializing
- Tension headaches
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increase in accidents or errors.
Deprivation of sleep may lead to other Insomnia symptoms. Person with Insomnia may wake up with dissatisfaction with sleep and may not feel refreshed. The person may feel sleepiness throughout the day and have a sense of tiredness. People with this condition commonly experience trouble concentrating and focusing.
In some cases, this condition resolves when the underlying health cause wears off. Insomnia treatment generally focuses on finding out the cause. After identifying the underlying cause, proper treatment helps to relieve it. In addition to treatment for the underlying cause of insomnia, we may opt for both behavioral as well as medical treatments as therapies.
The following are the behavioral approaches and home remedies for insomnia:
- Usage of relaxation techniques like muscle relaxation and meditation.
- Improvement in Sleep hygiene: Sleeping neither too little nor too much, having a regular schedule for sleep, exercising regularly, avoid forcing sleep, avoid smoking, not taking caffeine at night, avoid going to bed without eating dinner and ensuring a comfortable environment for sleeping.
- Restricting Sleep – Basically deprive your body of sleep by decreasing the time spent in bed. This in turn increases tiredness and keeps you ready for next night’s sleep.
- Opt for a group therapy or one-on-one counseling.
- Stimulus control therapy in which you go to bed only when you feel sleepy. Try not to watch TV, eating, worrying or reading on bed. Always set an alarm for the same time even during weekends. Do not have long daytime naps.
Below are some of the medical treatments for insomnia:
- Prescription sleeping pils
- OTC sleep aids
For insomnia diagnosis, a sleep specialist will ask you questions about your sleep patterns and medical history. The sleep specialist may also conduct a physical exam to find out the causes of this condition. Docs may also recommend screening for any psychiatric disorders or alcohol & drug abuse.
In order to diagnose a person with insomnia, he/she must have experienced disturbed sleep for more than a month. It should also have a negative impact on the person’s well being, either though the disturbances in performance or mood or due to the distress that results.
A sleep specialist will also be able to determine whether the symptoms are due to an underlying health condition. The patient may have to maintain a sleep journal in order to understand their sleep patterns. The specialist may recommend polysomnograph which is an overnight test for sleeping that helps to record the sleep patterns. Also, actigraphy may be conducted. In this procedure, the person will have wear an actigraph device on their wrist so as to measure sleep-wake patterns and movement.