Understanding The Signs And Symptoms Of Insomnia

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Most of us can agree: a few extra Zs in our life could do a great deal of good. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed isn’t just an expression anymore — it’s an all-too-real daily experience for many who suffer from insomnia.

Insomnia is a common sleep issue for many adults. In fact, an estimated 30-35% of American adults report experiencing signs and symptoms of insomnia each year, while 15-20% experience short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% suffer from chronic insomnia disorder.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is more than just not being able to fall asleep. People with insomnia express dissatisfaction with their sleep habits and usually experience one or more of the following negative effects: low energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability and decreased performance.

Insomnia is further characterized by its extent and duration. People experiencing the signs and symptoms of insomnia have issues falling asleep as well as staying asleep.

Chronic Insomnia refers to sleep disruptions three or more nights a week that last longer than three months. People with chronic insomnia oftentimes seek professional treatment to return to normal and healthy sleep patterns.

Acute, or short-term insomnia, often happens for a brief period of time and can be the result of your surroundings or experiences.

What Are The Symptoms Of Insomnia?

Now, you may be asking yourself “do I have insomnia?” Looking at your symptoms is the best way to tell if you suffer from insomnia. Common symptoms of insomnia include: difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, waking up too early, not feeling well rested, irritability, daytime fatigue, difficulty focusing or a drop in levels of performance.

What Can Cause Insomnia?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to both acute and chronic insomnia. A few catalysts include medical conditions, substance abuse, psychiatric conditions and lifestyle factors.

Medical Conditions that can cause insomnia:

  • Sinus issues

  • Asthma

  • GI issues such as acid reflux

  • Arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic pain

  • Injuries

Psychiatric Conditions that case cause insomnia

  • Anxiety symptoms can lead to insomnia. Some of these include: tension, excessive worrying, feeling overwhelmed, overstimulation

  • Depression can often cause or worsen insomnia, and, in turn, insomnia can exacerbate depression.

Lifestyle Factors that cause insomnia

  • Working unusual hours or night shifts

  • Taking naps

  • Sleeping in regularly

  • Working at home

  • Regularly engaging in activities in your bed that disrupt sleep such as watching TV or looking at your phone

  • Eating large meals late into the night

  • Smoking

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Drinking caffeine (especially late in the day)

Insomnia Treatment Options

Now that we’ve discussed causes, as well as the signs and symptoms of insomnia, let’s take a look at treatment options available to those looking for a better night’s rest. Sometimes insomnia can resolve itself once the underlying cause is identified and treated. Many people try over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids, which just treat the symptoms of insomnia rather than the root cause, but can assist with symptoms of acute insomnia. Others try home remedies for creating better bedtime habits and routines, such as a change in diet or keeping a sleep diary that chronicles sleep as it relates to lifestyle habits.

Others turn to a sleep specialist to help with their sleep needs. A sleep specialist will conduct a physical exam to look for possible medical conditions that could be attributed to your insomnia. If you’re suffering from chronic or prolonged insomnia, contact the local sleep specialists at Pulmonary Associates of Brandon to book an appointment. Better sleep is on the horizon!