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Insomnia – Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

If you can't sleep for months, you may have insomnia. Do you know the most common signs of this complicated condition? Read on to determine if you are experiencing insomnia every night.

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Sleeping problems are never easy. After all, poor sleep affects so many areas in life. If you have sleep problems already, have you double-check your health condition? Are you sure that you don’t have insomnia?

Lately, insomnia is a common condition among many. Before you start taking insomnia as one of your sleeping problems, let’s see what insomnia is.

What Is Insomnia?

According to experts, insomnia is a severe sleeping problem.

A vast number of people who experience problem sleeping tend to suffer from insomnia. Simply said, insomnia is a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

People who already have insomnia can often feel frustrated with their sleep and can usually experience one or even more of the following symptoms:

What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused for various reasons, and many include medical and psychiatric conditions, biological factors, unhealthy sleep habits, and even specific substances.

Recently, researchers started talking about insomnia from a different angle – as a problem of a brain. This view means that the brain is unable to stop being awake.

So, it’s essential to understand what could be causing your sleep difficulties. So, what are the most common causes of insomnia?

1. Medical Causes of Insomnia

Various medical causes can lead to insomnia. Some of them are mild, while some of them can be extremely severe. In some cases, even a medical condition itself can lead to insomnia.

In other cases, specific symptoms of the medical condition can cause discomfort that can make cause severe discomfort that can make it difficult for a person to sleep.

The most common medical conditions that can cause insomnia:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sinus/nasal allergies
  • Severe neurological conditions
  • Endocryne problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems

2. Depression And Insomnia

Insomnia can be linked with mild and severe psychiatric conditions. One of the most common psychiatric conditions that are related to insomnia is depression.

Any type of psychological struggle can make it difficult to sleep. After all, insomnia affects mood directly, and can hardly short hormones and lead to severe psychiatric issues.

Sleep problems can often represent a symptom of depression, making insomnia much higher in patients with massive depressive disorders.

Some studies found that insomnia can even worsen depression. Therefore, ti’s important to know that various symptoms of depression (lack of motivation, low energy, or strong sad feelings) and insomnia can be linked, and one can make the other worse. Luckily, both are treatable.

3. Depression And Anxiety

As an unwritten rule, adults have a problem falling asleep because they feel nervous or worried. For some, these emotions soon enough become a way of living, specific patterns.

Therefore, these patterns easily interfere with sleep regularly. That being said, anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia include:

  • Strong tension
  • Felling of being overstimulated
  • Excessive worrying about the future
  • Stressing over responsibilities

When you see these symptoms listed this way, it’s not hard to understand why you may feel overwhelmed. Or why anxiety actually stops you from sleeping. Stress can be connected with insomnia in various ways.

It can be linked with troubles of sleeping, or even waking up during the night.

In either case, inactivity often brings stressful thoughts or even fears that can keep anyone awake easily. When this feeling lasts for nights, it can result in panic, anxiousness, and sleepless nights.

This is how insomnia and anxiety feed each other. Luckily, there are mind-body techniques and cognitive techniques that can help people with anxiety settle into sleep more comfortably.

This practice can overall improve sleep for people with insomnia and anxiety.

4. Insomnia & Lifestyle

Your daily routine, and how you treat your body and health on a day-to-day level, matters. Lifestyle is more than just going through the day. It’s about being healthy and happy, and sleep can help you with it.

On specific patterns and behaviors, insomnia can be triggered. Moreover, unhealthy lifestyle or unhealthy sleep habits can create insomnia on their own.

Here is a simple example of how a simple habit can trigger insomnia:

Spending hours working after a daily job can create stress. If you spend additional hours in front of the computer, you will be exposed to additional light that will interrupt your sleep. Blue light can always interfere with your sleep.

Some possible triggers:

Some insomnia cases can appear, and with the right action step, they can disappear fast.

In some cases, insomnia can be a long-term problem. If you notice that you are experiencing any type fo insomnia, you should ask for help.

Insomnia Symptoms In A Nutshell

Most common insomnia symptoms may include:

Often waking up during the night (if you don’t suffer from any condition similar to restless leg syndrome or nocturia)

  • Waking up too early can often be a symptom
  • Feeling tired after a full night of sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Having a problem paying attention
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

How Long Does Insomnia Last?

In general, insomnia can be characterized based on how long it lasts. That being said, there are two types of insomnia:

  1. Acute insomnia. This type of insomnia is known as brief insomnia, because it can appear in a specific period, due to specific circumstances. Acute insomnia can appear if you stress the night before the exam, or after receiving stressful news.
  2. Chronic insomnia. If you have disrupted sleep that occurs minimum at three nights per week, and overall least for a minimum of three nights, you might be experiencing chronic insomnia. This can be triggered by strong changes in the environment, shift work, unhealthy sleep habits, or various clinical disorders. People who have chronic insomnia can be treated with specific treatment and doctor’s guidelines.

People who have insomnia have difficulty asleep (onset) or staying asleep (maintenance), or they can wake up too early in the morning.

Luckily, this condition can be treated with the right medical, behavioral, and psychological components. This is something that should be discussed with your doctor.

Based on your current health condition, your health history, and even your family’s health history, your doctor will decide on the best treatment plan.

Insomnia Risk factors

Normally, insomnia can happen to anyone. However, specific traits can lead to a higher risk of insomnia. Your risk of insomnia is greater if:

  • You are a woman
  • You are over age 60
  • You have a physical health condition
  • You have a mental health disorder
  • You are constantly under a lot of stress
  • You are hectic and don’t have a regular schedule

It’s crucial to understand that you can’t live healthy if you don’t have enough sleep. Next to proper and regular sleep, you need to practice physical activity, at least consistent and intense walking.

All in, people that have insomnia have a significantly lower quality of life than people who are sleeping well.

Insomnia Diagnosis

If you have any of the listed symptoms above, you should talk with your doctor. You can’t set the diagnosis on your own.

It’s crucial to see a doctor, where you will undergo a physical exam and be questioned about your medical history and sleep history, as well.

Your doctor might tell you to keep a sleep diary for a week or two. This way, your sleeping habits will be easily tracked.

You may also be asked to write down how you are feeling during the day.

If needed, they may talk to your bed partner to hear about possible snoring, moonwalking, or any night disturbance of which you may not be well-aware of.

Treating Insomnia

Treating insomnia will depend on your doctor.

Based on the various test and your health history, proper treatment will be suggested. It’s important to know that there are pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical treatments for insomnia.

Again, it depends on your doctor how you will be treated. Don’t be surprised if your doctor suggests various treatments.

You may need to test various options to get to the perfect one.

Some may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), while others may suggest proper sleep hygiene as the first line of defense. Overall, you can expect to get the following suggestions:

These tips are also great to prevent insomnia and promote sound sleep.

The Bottom Line

If not treated right, insomnia can lead to various problems. It can even cause a chemical reaction in the brain that can affect your entire health.

Therefore, it’s crucial to approach your doctor as you notice something unusual about your sleep.

If you are struggling to sleep for months, make sure that you ask for help.

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