Insomnia is perhaps the most commonly occurring sleep disorder. When a person has insomnia, he or she has trouble sleeping and once asleep they struggle to stay asleep for the desired amount of time. Insomnia is usually followed by low energy, daytime sleepiness, irritability, and fatigue. Due to the lack of proper attention and drowsiness, the insomniac person can face various problems. Driving, in particular, is a risky task to undertake as its very dangerous to drive in a drowsy state. In the case of insomnia, both the children and adults may face problems while trying to learn. Insomnia is known to have occurred over various spans of time. It can be long term, lasting for more than a month and it can also be short-term lasting for a few days or weeks.
Causes of Insomnia:
Insomnia is known to have several causes that may and may not be deep-rooted. Here we take a look at some of the causes of insomnia:
- Using drugs that are used to change the mood and perception of an individual may lead to insomnia. Certain medications, caffeine, cocaine, nicotine or excessive alcohol intake can lead to insomnia as well
- Usage or withdrawal from alcohol and other sedatives may also lead to insomnia.
- Usage or withdrawal from pain relievers can also be lead to insomnia.
- People with restless legs syndrome may also suffer from insomnia. This is due to the fact that during sleep they cannot move their legs and that can lead to an uneasy feeling that prevents them from going to sleep.
- Physical pain is yet another factor that may lead to a person suffering from insomnia. Due to the physical pain, one may not be able to find a comfortable way to sleep. This leads to insomnia.
- Hormone shifts like those during menstrual cycle or during menopause possess the potential to lead on to insomnia.
- Gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn and constipation can also lead to insomnia.
- Maintaining poor sleep hygiene can also be a reason for insomnia. Sleep hygiene includes proper sleeping conditions. For example, the lack of noise while sleeping reflects proper sleeping hygiene.
- Athletes may suffer from insomnia due to excessive physical exercise. This condition makes the transition from full wakefulness to sleep a lot longer than usual providing a great platform for insomnia to set in.
- Prolonged exposure of the eyes to blue light or artificial light like those in computers and mobile phones can lead to the inability to sleep, insomnia.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia is primarily characterized by the inability to go to sleep or to stay asleep. However, there are other symptoms that help identify insomnia. Some of them are as follows:
- Fatigue is a common symptom that one can notice in an insomniac person.
- People may suffer from problems of concentration, attention or memory when suffering from insomnia.
- Poor performance at academics or work automatically follows the inability to concentrate.
- The inability to sleep makes even the people not suffering from insomnia irritable and moody. For the insomniacs, the lack of sleep is a recurring event, one that is sure to prompt moody behavior and irritability.
- Daytime sleepiness occurs and it is largely due to lack of sleep at proper hours.
- Lack of energy and motivation is yet another symptom signaling
- Frequent errors or accidents are also visible in the insomniacs.
Medicated treatment for insomnia:
There are various treatments for insomnia that have been brought forward in recent years. We take a look at the medicated treatments:
- Ativan: Ativan is a popular drug that is used to treat not just insomnia but anxiety, panic attacks, and alcohol withdrawal as well. The usual dosage of Ativan is 2mg to 3mg divided into 2 or 3 dosages per day. Common side effects of Ativan drug are muscle weakness, headache, blurred vision vomiting, nausea, skin rashes and so on.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants like trazodone are also known to be good at treating sleeplessness.
- Benzodiazepines: When the insomniac patient desires to keep the medicines in his or her system for a longer period of time, the older alternatives of medication may prove to be handy. Temazepam and triazolam are 2 such drugs that can help treat sleepwalking and night terror effectively. But these drugs may prompt us to develop dependency and may also lead to sleepiness at undesirable hours of the day.
- Doxepin: Doxepin is another drug that is used in treatment for insomnia. This drug is particularly useful for the people that have trouble staying asleep.
- Zaleplon: Of all the new age drugs, zaleplon stays in the system for the least amount of time. This enables the insomniac patient to first try and sleep by their own self and administer the medicine only if the individual is unable to sleep. Due to the short duration for which the medicine stays in the system makes sure there is no drowsiness the next day.
The sleeping drugs should be carefully administered and that too in consultation with a certified doctor and in the prescribed dosage.