What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder which causes a person to have problematic sleep patterns, and periods of fatigue. Insomnia causes a person to be unable to go to sleep, to be unable to stay asleep or both. Insomnia can become dangerous to self and others. Untreated insomnia can have extremely negative effects on ones life. If you think you are suffering with insomnia you should consult with a doctor because insomnia is sometimes a sign of an underlying health problem.
What Causes Insomnia?
There are two different classes of insomnia. The two classes of insomnia are primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. The causes for primary and secondary insomnia are different from one another. Secondary insomnia is a side effect or symptom that arises as result of another medical problem. Primary insomnia is a condition that exists on its own, it does not occur as result of another problem.
Some Causes of Primary Insomnia:
- Major extended periods of stress
- Sleep Disruptive work schedules
- Sleep disruptive travel or jet lag
- Bad sleep habits
Some Causes of Secondary Insomnia:
- Major depression
- Post dramatic stress syndrome
- Neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease
- Restless leg syndrome
- Thyroid problems
- Chronic pain conditions like Arthritis
- A side effect of some medications
- Brain tumors
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Caffeine, Nicotine and alcohol
- Sleep apnea
Both physical and physiological conditions can cause a disruption in ones normal sleep patterns. These disruptions of sleep pattern can further evolve into insomnia.
|Insomniac Having Another Sleepless Night|
Insomnia can wreak serious havoc on ones life. It can effect ones relationship, job performance, school performance, health, ones own safety, and the safety of others. For those with spouses, or significant others, this sleep disorder can create issues in the relationship.
As a result of insomnia one may become grumpier with people, and may also very seldom sleep with their significant other. They may want to sleep with their mate, but their insomnia makes it extremely difficult to do so. They may attempt to lay in bed, but find it impossible to relax and go to sleep. This can make a person with insomnia very irritated and cause them leave the bedroom. These are a couple of the ways that insomnia can affect a relationship.
Just as ones job performance can be affected by bipolar, similarly ones job and school performance can be affected by insomnia. The effects of insomnia can cause untimely and unwanted fatigue and falling asleep. The loss of both cognitive, and reactionary skills, caused by sleep deprivation can also affect ones job, and school performance.
Insomnia Can be Dangerous, it can in Fact Kill:
for a fact increases attention lapses, it slows ones reaction time and their cognitive processing. If a person has insomnia, and is not getting proper sleep, they should be extremely careful about what they choose to do.
If they work jobs with heavy machinery for example, if they choose to operate such equipment fatigued by sleeplessness, they could surely potentially be a danger to themselves and others.
If one is not well rested and chooses to drive, it is remarkably similar, in fact, to driving drunk. We all know the dangers and potential consequences of driving impaired. Insomnia can also cause health complications. Insomnia can contribute to high blood pressure, a poor immune system, risk of heart disease, risk of diabetes, and obesity. (Oxford Journals)
According to researchers at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, after 24 hours of wakefulness, a person's performance on cognitive tests was equivalent to that seen in persons who are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .10. In my state, a .08 blood to alcohol reading is illegal, and one is considered to dangerous to drive.
Each year at least 100,000 automobile accidents are attributable to sleepiness and fatigue. As a result of those 100,000 accidents, over 1500 people die each year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) This equates to an automobile accident every 5 minutes and a fatal accident every 6 hours. According to a study published in the Archives of General Psychology insomnia was associated with 7.2% of all costly workplace accidents and errors and 23.7% of all the costs of these incidents.
Do You Have Insomnia? Try These Good Hygeine Sleep Tip
Implementing good sleep hygiene can be very effective in managing insomnia. The Sleep Council in their Good-Night Guide highlight additional steps that can be taken to help get a good night's sleep. Ones lifestyle, techniques for dealing with stress, diet, exercise, bedroom environment, bed, and relaxation techniques all can be contributing factors for improving ones sleep. For many, simply applying these methods enables them to effectively manage their insomnia. For those who find that their insomnia can not be effectively managed with good sleep hygiene practices alone, there are additional treatment methods available, such as:
Well Researched Natural Herbs that may Help Manage Insomnia:
- Lavender Oil- Can be added to a bath, used as a compress, a massage oil, or even inhaled.
- ST. Johns Wort- A natural sedative that is known also for helping reduce middle of night waking.
- Valerian- Has relaxing effects and can help enhance sleep quality.
- Poppy Seeds- Has small non-addictive and non-harmful amounts of codeine and morphine which which can help promote sleep.
- Passion Flowers- Is known to be a great sedative. Used in hot teas it can be helpful.
If one is considering taking herbal treatments for their insomnia, consultation with a doctor first is advised. This is to make sure that the herbal treatment would not be a bad interaction with any conventional medicine that one may be taking.
If the good sleep practices and natural herb treatments are not effective enough in treating your insomnia, there are also over the counter, and prescribed medications that can be taken.
Common Over the Counter Medications For Treating Insomnia:
- Melatonin- A sleep hormone used to control your natural wake\sleep cycle. Most common side effects are headaches, daytime sleepiness and dizziness.
- Doxylamine- Used in Unisom Sleep Tabs, uses an antihistamine which provides a sedating effect. Most common side effects are daytime drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth and memory problems.
- Diphenhydramine- Used in Benadryl and Unisom Sleep, is also a sedating antihistamine. Most common side effects are the same as those possible using Doxylamine.
Commonly Prescribed Medications For Insomnia Treatment:
- Clonazepam- Used in Klonapin, it works on receptors in the brain to create a calming effect which can help induce sleep.
- Lorazepam- Used in Ativan, also works on receptors in the brain to create a calming effect which can help induce sleep.
- Zolpidem- Used in Ambien, also works on receptors in the brain to calm a person and help induce sleep.
- Eszopiclone-Used in Lunesta, works similarly as the other above mentioned prescribed drugs.
If one has insomnia with depression, an anti-depressant with a sedative effect is sometimes used. The most common side effects of the prescribed sleep aids are cloudy thinking, dizziness and headaches.
None of these over the counter medications or prescribed sleep aids are designed for long term use. Lifestyle changes are usually the best approach to handling insomnia. Tolerance levels with these drugs can be quickly reached, quickly reducing their overall effectiveness. This could create a desire to take more and more in trying to get the same relief. All such medications used in treating insomnia, should only be taken under the care and advisement of a doctor.
Treating Insomnia with Cognitive Behavior Therapy:
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) promotes relaxation and sleep. Research has found CBT to produce moderate to large improvements in all aspects of insomnia. Outcome studies comparing the improvements made by use of CBT or medication show that although the improvements felt with medication are more rapid, with CBT the improvements are longer lasting and do not have the side effect concerns related with medications.
The Importance of Treating Insomnia:
Treatment has been proven to be very helpful in managing insomnia. Insomnia treatment can help one avoid, or at least limit their exposure to, all the negative effects that insomnia could have on their life. Insomnia can ruin a person, ones job or career, relationships, education, or even harm others.
People with the mood disorders like depression also often have insomnia. Sleep disturbances are a common cause of depression, but insomnia on the other hand can actually set in motion one's mood disorder. So by treating one's insomnia it can help prevent a depressive episode.
If you are experiencing problems with insomnia, try to stay on a regular sleep pattern. Use the suggested sleep methods mentioned above. If practicing good sleep hygiene methods are not working effectively enough. Consult with your doctor to come up with a method that works best for you.
With healthy sleep habits and professional treatment as needed, one can be better equipped to manage their insomnia. People with mental illnesses are faced with many challenges, one of them is often the sleep disorder insomnia.
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