Insomnia is a sleep disorder which makes it difficult to sleep, difficult to stay asleep, making one restless throughout the night and tired throughout the day. It may also cause people to wake up too early and having difficulty falling back asleep again. Insomnia not only affects your sleep wake cycle but also takes a toll on your mood, energy level, health, work life balance and lifestyle in general.
Depending on a person, the number of sleep hours they require differ, but an average human being requires peaceful uninterrupted sleep for 7 to 9 hours daily. Insomnia can be short-term i.e. acute or may last for a long time i.e. chronic.
About 30% – 48% of people suffer from insomnia globally, making it a very serious health issue for older adults, females and people with medical or mental health issues. Insomnia might be only a primary visible problem which can be further related to other health conditions and disorders.
The good news is a few modifications in the lifestyle can help an insomniac person achieve better sleep, without any interruptions.
What are the symptoms of Insomnia?
One of the most common symptoms of insomnia is sleeplessness. However, these following symptoms are also observed:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up at night
- Waking up too early
- Constantly tired
- Daytime sleepiness
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating
What are the types of Insomnia?
Acute insomnia lasts for 1 night to few weeks and is usually caused by stress.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a consequent 3 days in a row to 3 months or more. It is usually caused by prolonged stress, certain life events that have an impact on sleep, habits that affect sleep cycle.
Treating insomnia includes knowing what causes stress and sleeplessness and taking steps in order to prevent and / or treat them.
What causes Insomnia?
Some of the common causes of insomnia include:
Stress: Stress due to certain life events, job, continuous work, dealing with divorce, moving from one place to another, financial problems, health of a family member, death of a loved one, may cause insomnia.
Work schedule: Continuous late night work to meet deadlines and regular morning meetings, presentations can have a toll on your sleep pattern when this becomes a daily routine. Shift workers who work at night are most impacted with sleeplessness. Insomnia is caused when regular late night work becomes a habit.
Travel habits: Frequent traveling to different time zones can cause a disruption in sleep cycle that leads to tiredness, fatigue, often called as the jet lag. Insomnia can be caused due to such frequent changing schedules.
Bad sleeping habits: These include an irregular sleep schedule, screen time before bedtime, naps, uncomfortable sleep environment, eating or watching TV, working on beds. All these activities may seem small, but cause insomnia in the long run when these become a habit.
Overeating at night: Eating more than usual or more than required especially during night can cause acid reflux, heartburn while lying down, cause pain in the abdomen making one physically uncomfortable and unable to sleep peacefully. It is advised to not have heavy meals before going to bed.
Mental health disorders: Mental health issues like anxiety, depression can cause one to wake up early or unable to sleep all night. This makes one feeling weak and tired all day long if the condition persists. It is always better to get the proper treatment for such critical conditions.
Medications: Some medications containing stimulants may affect the normal sleep wake cycle. These medications include antidepressants for asthma and blood pressure, pain relief medicines, cold and cough medicines, allergy medication, and some weight-loss products also disrupt the sleep cycle.
Health conditions: Health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and thyroid can cause disruption in sleep. Insomnia can be a contributing factor for the development of these diseases or can be caused because of these diseases.
Diet: What you eat plays a very important role in sleep. Regular alcohol, cigarette consumption, use of illicit drugs can negatively impact your health starting with sleep cycle imbalance. A healthy diet is the basis of a healthy mind which further promotes decrease in depressive thoughts, active throughout the day and a peaceful sleep at the end of the day.
Age: Insomnia is common with age. As one grows old, one starts getting tired more often, feels sleepy during late evening, usual physical activities come to a halt, a slight noise or change in temperature of the room is enough to wake them up. To add to this, chronic physical pain and disorders make them weaker and less active. All these factors can affect them negatively, causing insomnia.
Pregnancy: Mood swings, food cravings and pain during pregnancy can cause sleepless nights and insomnia.
Menopause: Menopause can cause many differences internally in a woman that causes pain, irritation, hot flashes, night sweats, but most important one of them all is having difficulty sleeping because of these changes. This can lead to insomnia if not treated properly. To know more about menopause, click here: Menopause.
What are the risk factors of Insomnia?
The risk of insomnia is greater if you are:
- A woman in menopause
- Above age 60
- Suffering from mental health disorder or physical health condition
- Under stress
- Following an Irregular sleep pattern
What are the complications of Insomnia?
Sleep is the most crucial for every living being. It is the way one rejuvenates and refreshes their minds and bodies. Along with following a healthy diet, it is of utmost importance to set a fixed sleep schedule and follow it regularly to achieve a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia can affect an individual both mentally as well as physically.
People with insomnia were found to be less active and more tired compared to those who rested well.
Complications of insomnia include:
- Decreased performance and concentration in school or work
- Delayed reactions to surrounding changes
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of developing chronic physical health conditions such as heart problems, obesity, and blood pressure.
- Easily getting irritated, grumpy, trouble focusing are some of the common complications reported followed by insomnia.
Can melatonin help?
Yes. Melatonin, a hormone secreted in the body helps in regulating the internal clock of the body that indicates that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin works best during the night, when it is dark, andgives a signals the brain that it is time to sleep. This melatonin secretion is affected by a number of reasons like old age, long exposure to lights, depression, sleeplessness, and more.
Taking melatonin externally via supplements can prove useful in replenishing the body with the required amount of melatonin to induce sleep.
AFD Pharma’s Fastnap is a natural sleep aid that helps in achieving deep and peaceful sleep.
Fastnap Melatonin Oral spray is a natural sleep supplement that helps in rectifying the sleep cycle. It is very effective for inducing deep sleep, decreasing the sleep latency time, providing a relaxing sensation to the mind, and helping in waking up refreshed and energetic.
People suffering from certain sleeping disorders like Insomnia and jet lag can especially benefit from Fastnap as it improves the overall quality of sleep. It is non-addictive and does not have any withdrawal symptoms.