women with insomnia

What is Insomnia? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is known to be difficult to start sleeping, or difficulty staying asleep or suffering from a restless sleep. Insomnia means that these difficulties occur three or more times per week and last for at least a month and can affect our ability to work properly during the day. Continuous insomnia can affect our personal lives and work performance, and delay recovery after we become ill. It is also the main cause of depression.

Symptoms of insomnia:

Symptoms of insomnia may include:

    • stay awake for a long time before sleeping.
    • Waking up several times in the middle of the night.
    • Getting up early and not being able to go back to sleep.
    • Feeling tired and inactive after sleep.
    • Inability to focus during the day.

How much sleep do we need?

  Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep each night. Some people can feel quite comfortable with less sleep.

Newborns may sleep for 16 hours a day, while school-age children need an average of 10 hours. Most people over the age of 70 tend to be sleepy and need less than six hours per night.

 So, how much sleep do we need? Simply, we need to sleep enough to make us refreshed and able to work efficiently the next day.

Insomnia Types:

Insomnia divides 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 or traumatic events such as the night of the exam or after hearing 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, psychological problem or medication.

Causes of insomnia

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

  • Tension:

The concern about work, school, health or family 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.

  • Traveling or working schedule:

  The body has an internal clock that regulates human sleep and wake up, metabolic processes in its body and temperature. This clock is called Circadian Rhythms, and any malfunction in these systems can lead to insomnia. As is the difference in timing due to jet lag, shift work, and more.

  •  Bad sleep habits:

  Unhealthy sleep habits may cause insomnia without a 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 afternoon nap, And activities that increase human activity before bedtime, and the uncomfortable sleeping environment and the use of bedding for non-sleep needs such as work, eating, watching TV and others may also cause insomnia.

  •  Eat a lot of food at night:

  Eating too much food or eating fatty foods at night 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.

  •  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.

  • Pharmaceutical:

  Some types of painkillers, sedatives and caffeine-containing drugs may cause sleep problems, as well as some antidepressants, asthma medications, blood pressure medications, and others.

  • Medical Cases:

  Sometimes, certain medical conditions - either alone or with the resulting symptoms - cause insomnia, for example: chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, asthma, hyperthyroidism, low back pain, and some neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

  • Sleep Disorders:

  There are some disorders that adversely affect a person's sleep, such as sleep apnea, due to obstruction of his airways, and Restless Leg Syndrome, a state of neurotoxicity that gives a feeling 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 takingcaffeine-containing beverages in large amounts or late in the day may cause insomnia, because caffeine is a stimulant that stays 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 and deep sleep.

Tips To Get Rid of Insomnia:

  1. Block blue light in the bedroom.
  2. Avoid siesta.
  3. Avoid having the clock in front of you.
  4. Put a pillow between your legs.
  5. Keep your neck in a good position.
  6. Make your bedroom sleep only.
  7. Adjust the biological clock of your body.
  8. Avoid caffeine.
  9. Avoid alcohol.
  10. Reduce the number of times you go to the toilet during sleep.
  11. Gradually reduce lighting.
  12. Avoid noise during sleep.
  13. Cure insomnia by stopping smoking.
  14. Avoid having your pet next to you on your bed during sleep.
  15. Try to free your mind from thinking before you sleep.
  16. Beware sleeping pills.