Chronic Insomnia | Everything You Need To Know
Are you suffering from chronic insomnia? It’s a sleep disorder that can greatly affect your quality of life, so it may be time to learn more about it. Here’s everything you need to know about this condition, including the possible causes and treatment options.
Chronic Insomnia FAQs: Types, Causes, and Treatment
What is Chronic Insomnia?
Chronic insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties in trying to fall asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping for a sufficient amount of time. This condition leads to a lack of sleep that may affect your energy levels and performance for the rest of the day.
A case of insomnia is considered chronic when you continue to have trouble sleeping for at least three nights in a week, repeating for three months or more.
Types of Chronic Insomnia
1. Idiopathic Insomnia
Primary chronic insomnia, or idiopathic insomnia, may be hard to detect. There are no visible signs of its possible causes. It may begin from childhood, where you may experience the inability to initiate sleep. You may feel fatigue or excessive sleepiness the following day, regardless if you’ve had a good amount of rest.
2. Comorbid Insomnia
Secondary or comorbid insomnia is more common among the elderly. It is often caused by underlying health conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, pulmonary disease, degenerative neurological disease, and more.
Why Does Chronic Insomnia Happen?
Living with chronic insomnia may be very difficult, especially with all the symptoms that come with it. This condition may be caused by:
- Stress: Overthinking about your problems before going to bed will keep your mind active at night. Stressful or traumatic events may also interrupt your need to fall asleep, leading to insomnia.
- Unusual sleeping habits: If you constantly pull all-nighters, it may affect your body clock. Sleeping on a later time of the night and continuing your irregular bedtime schedules will mess up your sleep cycle.
- Uncomfortable sleeping environment: Your bedroom may also become a factor for your difficulty in sleeping. It may be an uncomfortable bed, the unbearable noises, or other distracting objects in your room.
- Mental disorders: Post-traumatic disorders, anxiety, and signs of depression can possibly lead to insomnia, along with other mental disorders. Symptoms of these disorders might force you to wake up in the middle of the night, or not sleep at all.
- Medical conditions: There are certain medical conditions that may also interrupt your sleeping schedule such as chronic pain, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses.
- Medications: A lot of prescription medications contain stimulants that may stop you from falling asleep. There are also some over-the-counter pills that can interfere with your sleep as well.
- Sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea: Sleep apnea prevents you from breathing normally as you sleep, which may cause you to wake up at random times.
- Caffeine or alcohol intake: Caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages serve as stimulants that may keep you awake at night. Consuming these late in the evening or before going to bed will disrupt your plans of sleeping early.
Who is at Risk for Chronic Insomnia?
In a study participated by adults with chronic insomnia, results showed that women have a higher incidence of the condition than men. It was more common among younger adults from 20-35 years old, especially those with obesity.
Poor sleeping habits and mental disorders have been found as the most significant factors that may contribute to the risk of developing chronic insomnia.
How Do You Treat Chronic Insomnia at Home?
There are many home remedies you can try to help you fall asleep, but it’s important to understand that changes in your lifestyle must also be done. Here are some methods you can try to help you sleep better.
- Melatonin: Melatonin supplements are often recommended for people who suffer from insomnia, but moderation is a must. These pills may guarantee you longer hours of sleep, but should not be confused as an actual cure for the condition.
- Meditation: Mindful meditation has been found to reduce incidents of sudden waking and disrupted sleep. Aside from keeping you calm, it allows you to get rid of any distractions that may affect your sleep.
- Lavender oil: Diffusing essential oils is nothing new in most sleeping routines, but using lavender oil specifically can help improve your quality of sleep. You may also use it as pillow or linen spray before going to bed.
- Magnesium: Though more research is needed, magnesium supplements have shown results of better and longer sleep. Side effects are possible, so consult your doctor on the right dosage.
- Proper sleeping schedule: Taking naps late in the afternoon or sleeping in on the weekends can mess up your bedtime schedule at night. Avoid staying up late and practice going to bed at a specific time, without any distractions such as your phone, television, etc.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you've had trouble sleeping almost every night for more than three months, it may be time to see a doctor. Make sure to write down these incidents to help your doctor assess your condition. Do not hesitate to get checked, especially if it is greatly affecting your ability to function during the day.
Where Else Can You Get Treatment?
There are several clinics specializing in treating sleep disorders, where therapy is often practiced. If your prescribed medication no longer works for you, consider getting admitted in a sleep clinic recommended by your doctor.
Remember that this option is only for patients who have severe chronic insomnia. Rehabilitation might seem intimidating and scary at first. However, it can help you immensely in getting your restful nights of sleep back.
To know more about chronic insomnia and how it differs from sleep deprivation, watch this helpful video by Insomnia Coach:
Getting enough sleep is becoming more of a high priority as you age, especially when you have other medical conditions. If you suspect that you are beginning to experience signs of chronic insomnia, seek help as soon as possible. Treating this disorder early will help you prevent its other causes, and you can eventually improve your quality of sleep.
Have you ever experienced chronic insomnia? Let us know in the comments below!
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