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Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

There’s no denying how much insomnia (no, not the movie) can impact our daily routine. Whether it’s nodding off at work, taking extended naps, or feeling lethargic all day, insomnia often comes with a plethora of other issues. As you read this article, you’ll learn more about insomnia and how to treat it.

Causes

It’s important to note that there are two variations of insomnia: primary, which is strictly an inability to fall asleep or to sleep soundly through the night, and secondary, which is a type of insomnia induced by another health issue like asthma, heart issues, and so on. For those with acute insomnia, difficulty falling or staying asleep lasts anywhere from one night to a week. For those with chronic insomnia, sleep issues can last as long as several months or up to a year. The National Sleep Foundation states that one of the most common forms of insomnia is stress-induced insomnia. Acute, stress-induced insomnia can be caused by a highly stressful job, an especially jam-packed week with the kids, or major life changes like a wedding or the loss of a loved one. Other causes of actute insomnia can include bodily pain, some medications, and external factors like nearby noisiness. My insomnia was particularly present during the middle of my first pregnancy and battling intense discomfort and pain. For my husband, his encounters with insomnia are naturally worse when approaching a major deadline at work and can least for a few nights. Chronic insomnia is generally caused by more intense stress or severe depression and anxiety.

Symptoms

Insomnia

Courtesy of Carlos Martz

The most obvious symptoms of insomnia include fatigue and lethargy during the day, waking up repeatedly during the night, and an inability to fall back asleep. Other symptoms include grouchiness and difficulty focusing or remembering things.

Treatment

Because getting a full night’s rest is essential in maintaining a healthy, strong immune system, treating insomnia is critical in avoiding illnesses. Treating acute insomnia can often be as simple as tweaking your sleep habits. For example, avoiding late-night snacks and the use of stimulating electronics like your laptop and TV later on in the evening can have a substantial influence on your ability to sleep. My husband and I can attest to this, as we’ve both suffered from insomnia whenever we eat dessert in bed while watching TV right before going to sleep, so it’s best to entertain yourself with a book an hour or two before bed to avoid excessive stimulation. Similarly, choosing the right bedding and sheet sets can be very helpful. ┬áIf changing your nighttime habits proves to be ineffective, consulting with your doctor for prescription sleep aids is best for treating acute insomnia. For more severe cases of insomnia, behavioral therapy is often suggested to help break the behavioral habits that may hinder your ability to sleep.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that insomnia can be detrimental to your energy and health. By simply improving your nighttime habits or consulting with your doctor, you can easily overcome this challenge and enjoy a restful night’s sleep again.

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