Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep, has trouble staying asleep, or causes you to wake up too early and not get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up from this disorder. How much sleep is enough varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night. Insomnia can be a primary problem, or it can be related to other health problems or even medications.
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- Many times you can't fall asleep.
- You wake up at night.
- Wake up earlier than usual
- you sleep poorly for more than a month without an apparent cause. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep disorder specialist to record your sleep pattern and rule out possible illnesses.
Video content: Doctor, I suffer from insomnia!
- Is insomnia related to a significant change in your life, e.g., the loss of a job or a loved one? Then, you may need sleeping pills for a short time.
- Sleeping pills no longer help you or have not worked for several nights. As a result, there is a risk of becoming dependent on them.
- You feel like you can never fall asleep and fall asleep unexpectedly several times during the day. This is because you may suffer from narcolepsy.
After early childhood, humans act like the earth rotates - according to a natural cycle that repeats itself every 24 hours. In this daily cycle, called the circadian rhythm, most adults sleep 6 to 8 hours, usually at night and without interruption.
A few nights of poor sleep does not harm us, but prolonged insomnia can have serious consequences. Insomnia is among the most common health problems: about 1 in 3 people experience sleep disorders yearly, twice as many women as men. In addition, sleeping habits change with age, which is why insomnia mostly plagues older people.
Picture: difficulty falling asleep - insomnia.
Insomnia can be defined according to duration and severity. Transient insomnia is a temporary disturbance in the regular sleep pattern. It occurs, e.g., due to travel or relocation, and usually only lasts a few nights. Short-term insomnia lasts two or three weeks and is accompanied by worry or stress. It usually disappears when we eliminate its cause. Chronic insomnia is a complex disorder that can have serious consequences, e.g., immune disorders: if people do not sleep enough for a long time, the formation of natural killer cells, which are an essential part of the immune system, decreases; resistance to diseases decreases.
Bouts of uncontrollable dizziness characterize a rare disorder called narcolepsy during the day that interferes with regular activity. Patients with narcolepsy may not sleep well at night and have sleep attacks during the day while talking, working, or driving, which can be fatal.
Physical illnesses, a stressful lifestyle, excessive caffeine consumption, or chronic pain cause insomnia. But it can result from bad sleeping habits, e.g., irregularly napping during the day and going to bed. In addition, it is often associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs. In about half of the cases of insomnia treated by sleep therapists, psychological factors are the cause. Sleep is hindered by stress, which after they cause marital problems, a chronically ill child, or job dissatisfaction. Depression is among the most common causes of insomnia. Patients with anxiety, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric diseases also sleep poorly.
Sleep is worse in certain physical diseases, especially diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. Among the biological causes, heartburn, chronic pain, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are also important. Insomnia often occurs during menopause, when sleep is interrupted by flushes and night sweats. Patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia wake up at night due to abnormal blood sugar concentration.
Video content: explanation of insomnia; causes, pathophysiology
Your habits and lifestyle can disrupt your sleep pattern. For example, a sedentary lifestyle and an incorrect schedule of daily activities contribute to insomnia, as does excessive consumption of caffeine and other stimulants or alcohol and other sedatives. In addition, many prescription and over-the-counter medications cause insomnia, from beta blockers to thyroid hormones, as well as intentional or unintentional abuse of sleeping pills, not to mention illegal drugs. There is also evidence that an electric pillow also disrupts normal sleep.
Many medical disorders affect the body in such a way that regular sleep is not possible. Among them is a mysterious disease called restless leg syndrome. Patients describe an unpleasant, rubbery feeling at rest that forces them to move their limbs, even during sleep.
A group of causes known as circadian rhythm disorders includes time difference and shift work. Air travel across multiple time zones disrupts the body's biological clock, which takes several days to adjust to the time difference. Irregular work schedules or changing day and night shifts cause insomnia until a person gets used to the new sleep pattern; some people never fully adapt. Environmental factors such as noise, light, and bad air cause insomnia or impair sleep quality even though people sleep.
Transient insomnia is not physically harmful but can begin to recur and is difficult to cure. The cause of narcolepsy is unknown. It can occur after a head or brain injury, and in most patients, there are no signs of physical illness. The origin of the disease is a neurological disorder of the sleep and wakefulness mechanism in the brain.
Transient insomnia while traveling usually disappears once you return to a regular sleep pattern. Short-term insomnia caused by illness in the family or stress at work can be treated with natural sleep aids or, in rare cases, medication. In the case of chronic insomnia, which disturbs sleep for a long time, the doctor must examine you thoroughly. It would be best to change your lifestyle, and you may even need psychotherapy to discover the underlying cause.
Video content: How to deal with insomnia?
The treatment of narcolepsy is limited due to an incomplete understanding of the cause of the disease. Doctors and sleep disorders experts recommend: When you feel dizzy, take a 10-minute nap to rest when you need to be awake. Moderate consumption of caffeine also helps. A doctor sometimes prescribes drugs such as amphetamines. With circadian rhythm disorders, most people get used to the new schedule after a few days. If you must sleep during the day, keep the bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. If the cause of insomnia is a physical disorder, e.g., diabetes or menopause, treating the cause will also cure insomnia.
For long-term or severe insomnia, you should consult your doctor so that he can rule out possible physical causes and prescribe you the appropriate medicine. If the cause of insomnia could be depression, anxiety, or stress, your doctor will refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. You may also be referred to a sleep research center, where experts will perform physical and psychological examinations and record your sleep pattern to determine your condition in detail.
Many people take sleeping pills, but doctors don't prescribe them as often as they used to. We should especially avoid barbiturates if possible. Barbiturates have a high potential for addiction, can lead to overdose, and are toxic when combined with alcohol. Take them for only one or two days at a time and le as prescribed by your doctor for your condition. Benzodiazepines, e.g. triazolam and temazepam, are safer than barbiturates. However, they can also be addictive and fatal if taken with alcohol or other CNS depressants. Benzodiazepines become less effective over time. As tolerance develops, they can make insomnia worse. It is difficult to stop taking them, as sudden withdrawal causes unpleasant symptoms, including insomnia. With zolpidem, another anti-insomnia drug, the possibility of addiction is lower than with benzodiazepines.
Many people who sleep poorly need help to relax. If you're a frequent sleeper and trying to sleep only wakes you up more, alternative treatments can banish your sleep worries and help you relax your mind and body. If the cause of insomnia is stress, the treatment should be aimed at the reason.
Oils of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), rose, marjoram, and neroli oil are relaxing.
Image: pleasant aromas of lavender.
Add a few drops to the bath, drip on a handkerchief, and inhale.
WORK WITH THE BODY
The massage is relaxing, and you sleep well after it. It's probably not possible every day, but it's a good addition after an exhaustive physical exercise, after which the muscles are stiff and tense.
Drink a cup of soothing herbal tea made from chamomile (Matricaria recutita), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), linden flowers, passion flower (Passiflora incarnate), or hops (tumulus lupulus) half an hour before bed. For insomnia due to nervous tension, try verbena or Scutellaria lateriflora. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is very effective and rarely causes morning drowsiness: make valerian tea or PO-
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy.
- Get up at about the same time every day, regardless of when you go to bed.
- Relax before bed: try a warm bath with magnesium sulfate, which relaxes muscles perfectly.
Image: rules of healthy sleep
- Before turning off the light, eat something small - a toast or an apple - or read for 10 minutes.
- Always do heavy exercise at the same time. If possible, exercise at such a time that you sleep best afterward. This time is in the morning or early afternoon, not before bed for most people.
- Do not drink alcohol and caffeine for several hours before bed. Caffeine is not only in coffee but also in chocolate, tea, refreshing drinks, and over-the-counter medicines.
Video content: How to treat insomnia completely without medication?
- Children should not be too excited before bed, e.g., because of loud games or exciting TV shows.
Drink about 20 drops of tincture with water before bed; try to find the best dose. Be aware that valerian, like other sleeping pills, depresses the central nervous system and should not be taken every night.
The homeopathic doctor will prescribe mixed vomica for insomnia caused by anxiety or restlessness, ignition for sadness, and muriatic acid for emotional problems. Other medications are also available depending on the nature of insomnia.
WAY OF LIFE
With moderate physical exercise - from 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a week - you will sleep better and have more energy. Adjust the activity to your physical capacity, and exercise in the morning or early afternoon, not before bed. In addition, you can relax with breathing exercises.
You can do the following exercises anywhere and anytime:
- exhale completely through your mouth;
- inhale through the nose and count to four;
- hold your breath and count to seven;
- exhale through your mouth and count to eight. Repeat the cycle three times.
MEDICINE OF SPIRIT AND BODY
Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback reduce tension and improve sleep. An effective way to relax is the technique of visualization or guided imagery: before going to sleep, imagine a peaceful picture in your mind. You can learn this technique from a teacher, from a book, or from a tape.
Melatonin, a hormone normally secreted by the pineal gland, induces sleep without side effects. Take a 5 mg capsule every night for two weeks. Experience with this hormone is limited, so consult your doctor.
Video content: What is melatonin? Does it make sense to take it to help you fall asleep?
Calcium and magnesium, 45 minutes before bedtime, are soothing. Take them in a 2:1 ratio, e.g., 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium in tablet or capsule form.
High or low blood sugar levels hinder normal sleep. To balance blood sugar levels, avoid sweets and fruit juices. Starchy foods - a baked potato, a piece of bread, an apple - half an hour before bed stimulate the brain's sedative neurotransmitters.
Image: A diet high in melatonin
Warm milk, a traditional sleep medicine, has more of a psychological than a physiological effect. It does contain tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep, but it also contains many other amino acids that compete for entry into the brain.
The bedroom should be dark and quiet. Earplugs and a blindfold can help; light penetrates even through closed eyelids.
Both children and adults find it harder to fall asleep if they are too active or watch TV right before bed. However, it is entirely different if you have a quiet conversation for a quarter of an hour, read something light or listen to soft music.
Stay calm and relaxed if you wake up at night and can't get back to sleep. Sleep is often interrupted by periods of restlessness or wakefulness. Be patient; you will probably fall asleep again.
Know that a few nights of poor sleep won't hurt in the long run. Even if you toss and turn when you're trying to fall asleep, you're probably sleeping more than you think.
If your bedroom is noisy and bright, do what you can to create a dark, quiet space with adequate ventilation and humidity in the air. With earplugs and an eye mask, you will not experience these disturbances. Too dry air can narrow the nasal passages, which is unpleasant.
If you work at night and cannot sleep well during the day, ask your employer to transfer you back to the day shift. For some people who have to work at night, it helps if the lights are brighter than usual during night work, and when they get home in the morning and get ready for bed, they wear sunglasses. With this, they change their circadian rhythm to sleep better during the day and are more awake at night.
Try to be flexible about when and how much you sleep. Overthinking your sleep schedule will make it even more challenging to get a good night's sleep. If you prefer to nap during the day and sleep less at night, do it this way. The total time you sleep in 24 hours is more important than when you sleep.
Rough, raspy, oscillating sounds, varying pitch and volume during sleep breathing.
- You live with a snorer and notice that he snores very loudly or pauses in between without breathing. It can be obstructive sleep apnea, a severe breathing disorder.
- You are often very sleepy during the day. This is because you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a severe disorder that prevents you from getting enough oxygen while you sleep.
- You often fall asleep in inappropriate circumstances, e.g., at work or while eating. In addition, you may have obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy, a disorder that causes sufferers to fall asleep during their regular waking hours.
Image: Upper respiratory tract view.
Snoring is usually not a severe problem. It is 50% more common in men than women, but most people snore occasionally. Chronic snorers are typically middle-aged and overweight. Sometimes, however, snoring can warn of a dangerous health disorder. The worst is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the snorer stops breathing; the termination lasts from a few seconds to two minutes. The result is a drop in oxygen in the blood, which at best causes fatigue and, at worst, can lead to sudden death. If you think you have this disorder, you should get conventional treatment.
Regular - often loud - snoring indicates other potentially annoying problems; such snoring can be classified into two groups: moderate (snoring that occurs whenever the individual sleeps but may be interrupted or appears only when lying on the back) and severe (loud snoring throughout sleep, regardless of position). Fortunately, the severity of snoring can be reduced or even eliminated with various measures.
Snoring is caused by the fluctuation of the soft palate that occurs as the lungs struggle to inhale oxygen through narrowed airways. This usually happens when the muscles that keep these pathways open become too loose. Thus, any condition or substance that increases muscle relaxation can have an effect. These include alcohol, medication (e.g., sleeping pills, cold pills, or antihistamines), too soft or too big a pillow, sleeping on your back, poor muscle tone, or obesity.
Video content: why do we snore at night?
Obstruction can also be caused by abnormalities, such as an excessively long soft palate or tongue or deviation of the nasal septum. In children, snoring is often caused by an enlarged pharynx or tonsils. In addition, obstruction can be caused by any disease that causes a narrowing of the bronchial passages, such as asthma. Smoking, which irritates the respiratory tract, also contributes to worsening snoring.
The doctor will first ask about any allergies you may have, dietary habits, medications you are taking, and whether you drink alcoholic beverages or smoke. If the fault is not in these factors, he will examine the nose and throat to detect any abnormalities.
If he suspects you have obstructive sleep apnea, he may ask your partner to keep a diary with notes about your sleep pattern. He can also refer you to a sleep test, during which, among other things, they will determine when and how often you stop breathing during sleep.
In most cases, snoring does not require medical treatment; a slimming diet and the restriction of smoking and alcohol usually eliminate the problem.
Alternative methods can also help. In more severe cases, however, surgery may be necessary.
If the snoring is mild, no action is needed. If allergies are the cause, the doctor will probably prescribe antihistamines or nasal decongestants. Snoring due to abnormalities in the nose or throat sometimes requires surgery to allow the air to flow smoothly. If the doctor determines that it is obstructive sleep apnea, the treatment will be more aggressive, as the possible consequences of this disorder can be dangerous.
If the cause of snoring is allergies, asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, many alternative methods can help open the airways and help you sleep more peacefully.
- It might be good to lose some weight: most snorers are overweight. Eliminating excess fat has been proven to reduce or even eliminate snoring significantly.
OBSTRUCTIVE NOCTURNAL APNEA
1 to 5% of adults suffer from a snoring disorder that is no joke: obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder, which usually affects men (9 out of 10 patients are men), is characterized by stopping breathing more than 29 times during 7 hours of sleep, each time lasting 10 seconds or more. Individuals with a severe form of the disease do not breathe there for up to three-quarters of the time during sleep.
The result is a lack of oxygen and high blood pressure; the disease can be fatal in the most severe cases.
Video Content: Sleep Apnea
If you snore loudly and forcefully, you may have obstructive sleep apnea; you should consider a sleep test, during which your sleep pattern will be investigated, and treatment will be advised based on the findings.
- Avoid late-night snacks and alcoholic beverages: drinking alcohol or heavy wounding before bed causes muscle weakness.
- Avoid sleeping pills and other sedatives. Although they help you fall asleep, they relax the neck muscles and worsen snoring.
- Quit smoking. Smoking causes nasal and respiratory mucosa swelling, one of the leading causes of snoring.
- Sleep on your side. Severe snorers snore regardless of position, while moderate snorers generally only snore when they sleep on their backs. One way to avoid this is to sew a pocket on the back of your pajamas and put a tennis ball in it. Lying on your back will thus become uncomfortable, and you will turn to your side while sleeping.
- Sleep without a pillow. The pillow causes the neck to bend and thus can contribute to the difficult passage of the airways.
What is the leading cause of insomnia?
It is not always clear what exactly triggers insomnia, but it is often related to stress and anxiety. In addition, a poor sleep environment - such as an uncomfortable bed or a bedroom that is too bright, noisy, hot, or cold, and lifestyle factors - such as jet lag, shift work, or drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed is some of the other reasons that can have a significant negative impact to the state of insomnia.
How can you ease the condition of insomnia?
Stick to your sleep schedule. Make sure your sleep and wake times are the same every day, even on weekends.
Stay active. ...
Check your meds. ...
Video content: How much sleep do we need?
Avoid or limit napping. ...
Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and don't smoke. ...
Avoid large meals and excessive drinks before bed.
How many hours of sleep is recommended?
No specific number of hours of sleep defines someone as an insomniac because each person has different sleep needs. However, adults are generally recommended to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep.
How to make sure you fall asleep faster?
Ten drinks that help you fall asleep:
- Warm milk. ...
- Almond milk. ...
- Malted milk. ...
Image: drinking a nice glass before bed.
- Valerian tea. ...
- Caffeinated green tea. ...
- Chamomile tea. ...
- Herbal tea with lemon balm. ...
- Pure coconut water.
At what age can insomnia appear?
Insomnia in children can appear at any time, from childhood to adolescence, and in some severe cases, it can develop into a long-term problem. Symptoms may include refusal to sleep and difficulty going to bed.
Which foods contain melatonin?
Milk. A glass of warm milk is known to help effectively before going to bed...
Pistachios. Many nuts, including cashews and almonds, contain melatonin, but pistachios contain more than others. ...
Tart cherries. ...
Fatty fish. ...
Grow strawberries. ...
Who is most at risk of insomnia?
Women. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and menopause can play an important role. ...
Elderly persons. Persons over 60 years old...
Persons with disabilities. You have a mental disorder or physical health condition. ...
You are under a lot of stress. ...
You don't have a regular schedule.
What does insomnia do to your body?
People with insomnia cannot fall asleep, sleep well, or sleep enough. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and weight gain. Behavioral and lifestyle changes can improve your rest.
Can a blood test detect insomnia?
Actigraphy can help the doctor diagnose possible insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders.
Blood tests. Your doctor may take a blood sample to test for possible thyroid disease, low iron levels, or other conditions that may cause sleep problems.
When should I see a doctor for insomnia?
Call your doctor if you experience insomnia if:
- Symptoms of insomnia last longer than four weeks or interfere with your daily activities and ability to function.
- You worry about waking up several times at night gasping for air
- if you are concerned about possible sleep apnea or other health problems that may disturb your sleep.
Source: Family Health Guide. Conventional and alternative treatment, Dr. Jajo Lajovic, Publishing House Mladinska knjiga
1. Insomnia -https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/mental-health/insomnia
2. Insomnia - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355173