Types of Insomnia
Insomnia describes people who have trouble falling asleep and staying fully asleep during the nighttime. This sleep disorder condition can persist consistently over the course of a person’s lifetime (chronic insomnia), come in bouts from time to time (episodic insomnia) or simply last a few weeks (short-term insomnia). There is evidence to suggest that insomnia is a learned condition, a physical condition or a behavioral condition caused by mental factors. Researchers have even suggested that aging may negatively affect a person’s ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly throughout the night.
Causes of Insomnia
The obvious causes of insomnia include factors such as going to sleep at irregular times each night, napping too much during the day, being awake in bed for too long during the day and having a sleeping environment that is too brightly lit or too noisy. However, more subtle factors can also make it difficult for a person to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. People who fail to exercise enough or who have generally inactive daily routines usually have trouble with insomnia. Watching TV, using a phone or using a laptop or computer at night can cause insomnia as well—especially if these activities are performed while lying in bed. Smokers, caffeine-drinkers, alcohol and drug users and patients on medication are also susceptible.
Less commonly, insomnia is caused by an underlying condition or disorder that affects a patient’s sleeping pattern as a symptom, such as thyroid disease, depression, pain due to physical injury, stress and some anxiety and bipolar disorders. These conditions not only cause insomnia but sometimes make the symptoms of insomnia worse over time if the condition is left untreated.
Seeking Out Insomnia Cures
Contact a sleep center that specializes in treating sleep disorders if you display symptoms of insomnia, such as having extreme difficulty falling asleep more than 4 times per week, feeling fatigued during the day because you couldn’t sleep the night before, rarely or never feeling refreshed upon awaking from a full night’s sleep or waking up frequently throughout the night. Physical exams at a doctors’ office will rule out possible medical causes of insomnia, and undergoing a sleep study or polysomnography overnight at a certified sleep center will help a sleep expert diagnose you with any sleep disorders that may affect you, such as sleep apnea (inability to breathe properly while sleeping). Seeing a professional will lead to proper treatment dependent on the specific cause of your insomnia, whether this means using special devices before and during sleep, taking medications or practicing behavioral and physical therapy.