Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder that can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep, stay sleeping, or to wake before they should and not be able to get back to sleep. When a person suffers with insomnia, they often wake up feeling tired. They lack the energy necessary to get through the day. Over time, insomnia can have an affect on a person’s health, as well as their performance at work and the quality of their life overall.
The amount of sleep a person should get each night varies by each person. But the average amount of sleep an adult should get is between seven and eight hours. Depending on different events or things going on in a person’s life, many adults go through a short period of time, a few days or maybe a week, where they have difficulty sleeping, but this is not insomnia.
What is the Difference Between Difficulty Sleeping and Insomnia?
Insomnia has a number of symptoms including:
* Unable to easily fall asleep at night
* Waking up earlier than necessary and unable to fall back to sleep
* Waking in the middle of the night
* Being tired or sleepy during the day
* Difficulty focusing or paying attention
* Consistently worrying about being able to sleep
* Not feeling rested when waking up
* Irritable, depressed, or having anxiety
* Having more errors or accidents than usual
When you have difficulty sleeping, you may have some of these symptoms, but they usually only last for a few days or possibly a week. The symptoms are also not typically consistent. There may be a night or two that someone is unable to sleep well, but then they sleep fine for a period of time. Insomnia is more of a consistent inability to get a good night’s sleep.
Along with the inconsistency of difficulty sleeping, once the person is able to get to sleep, they often will sleep through the rest of the night. Difficulty sleeping is often someone having a hard time falling asleep, but not so much having issues staying asleep or falling back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night.
Causes of Difficulty Sleeping
Often times when someone is having a difficult time sleeping there is often a specific reason behind it that. The person may have a difficult time sleeping on Sunday nights. This would likely be attributed to their lack of keeping a consistent sleep schedule during the weekend. If a person sleeps great throughout most of the week, then stays up late on Friday and Saturday night and sleeps in late on Saturday and Sunday morning, this could be the cause of having a hard time falling asleep on Sunday night.
If there is something coming up or something that happened that has a person worried, they may have a difficult time falling asleep. It is difficult for a person to fall asleep when their mind is racing with different thoughts. When a person continues to think about things they are worried about, sleep will not come quickly.
Causes of Insomnia
There are a number of things that can be the cause of insomnia. Included in these are:
* Stress – Stressful or traumatic events in a person’s life can cause insomnia.
* Bad Sleep Habits – If a person is completing stimulating tasks, watching TV, sleeping in an environment that is uncomfortable, or using the bed as a place to work.
* Work or Traveling Schedule – Working a job that requires a person to consistently change shifts, having jet lag from traveling, and working an off shift can mess up a person’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythms. A person’s circadian rhythms is what keeps them on a sleep schedule and when it is consistently disrupted, it can lead to insomnia.
* Eating too Much Before Bed – When a person eats too much before going to bed, they may feel uncomfortable and have a hard time falling asleep.
* Caffeine – Regularly drinking caffeinated beverages later in the day can lead to insomnia.
* Nicotine – Nicotine is a stimulant that can lead to insomnia.
* Alcohol – Alcohol is something that will typically help a person fall asleep, but often does not allow for the deep sleep that is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
* Medications – Certain medications can be the cause of insomnia. Some medicines contain caffeine and other types of stimulants that can make it difficult for people to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Insomnia’s Relation to Depression and Anxiety
Insomnia is something that is commonly seen in those with depression. Although there are some people with depression that sleep a great amount of time, many others with depression have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep.
It is understandable that someone that has insomnia could end up with depression. When a person suffers from insomnia, they are not getting the sleep that they need. Over time, this can begin to take a toll on them physically, mentally, and can have a negative effect on their daily lives. This can then lead to depression.
Insomnia can also lead to anxiety. When someone is not able to get the sleep they need at night, they can become anxious about not being able to sleep. This anxiety they feel can also then lead to depression.
Possible Treatment Options for Insomnia
There are a number of different treatments that may be used in order to treat insomnia. The first type of treatment would likely be to change habits the person may have in order to restore a regular schedule of sleep. If these changes do not work, behavioral therapy or prescription medications may be used.