Insomnia is a prevalent sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to return to sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia, it can significantly impact your daily life, causing fatigue, mood disturbances, and decreased performance at work or school.
It is crucial to seek professional help with Bristol Health to address the underlying causes and manage your insomnia effectively.
The primary symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Various factors, including lifestyle, medical conditions, and psychological concerns can trigger insomnia. Some common causes and risk factors for insomnia include:
- Stress: Worries about work, school, health, or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep.
- Poor sleep habits: Irregular sleep schedules, stimulating activities before bedtime, and an uncomfortable sleep environment can contribute to insomnia.
- Mental health disorders: Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Medical conditions: Chronic pain, breathing difficulties, and other medical concerns can interfere with sleep.
- Medications: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause insomnia as a side effect.
- Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: These substances can disrupt sleep, especially when consumed close to bedtime.
- Aging: Older adults may experience changes in sleep patterns, resulting in insomnia.
A healthcare professional will typically diagnose insomnia through a comprehensive assessment.
In some cases, you may be referred to a sleep specialist for further evaluation, which could involve an overnight sleep study (polysomnography) to monitor your sleep patterns and identify any underlying sleep disorders.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be classified into different types based on its cause, duration, and nature.
The types of insomnia based on duration include transient insomnia, which lasts for less than one month; short-term insomnia, lasting between one and six months; and chronic insomnia, which persists for more than six months.
Based on the cause, insomnia can be primary or secondary.
- Primary insomnia exists independently, without any other co-existing disease.
- Secondary or co-morbid insomnia occurs in conjunction with another medical or psychiatric condition.
There are also specific types of insomnia, such as:
- Onset insomnia which is trouble falling asleep
- Maintenance insomnia which is trouble staying asleep
- Behavioral insomnia in childhood manifests as bedtime resistance, prolonged sleep onset, or night wakings and impacts approximately 25% of children
Another type of insomnia you might come across is mixed insomnia, which is a combination of different types of insomnia.
Several treatment options are available to help manage insomnia, depending on the underlying causes and the severity of your symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following approaches.
In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage insomnia. These can include short-term use of sleep aids, such as benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, or melatonin receptor agonists.
Antidepressants or anxiety medications may also be prescribed if insomnia is related to a mental health disorder. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the most appropriate medication and dosage for your specific needs.
Mental Health Therapy
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can be effective treatment for insomnia, particularly when it is related to stress or mental health concerns.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a specialized form of CBT that focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors related to sleep. CBT-I techniques can include sleep restriction, stimulus control, relaxation training, and sleep hygiene education.
Lifestyle Changes & Modifications
In addition to professional treatment, making certain lifestyle changes can help you manage insomnia. These changes may include:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Creating a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques.
- Making your sleep environment comfortable: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Limiting exposure to screens before bedtime: The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with sleep.
- Exercising regularly: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, but avoid exercising close to bedtime.
- Managing stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga.
- Limiting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Avoid consuming these substances, especially in the evening.
If you have insomnia, it is essential to seek help from a healthcare professional. Early intervention can lead to better treatment outcomes and improve your overall quality of life.
Get in touch with Bristol Health at (801) 903-5903 or request an appointment to learn how we can assist you with insomnia in Utah County.