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Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. These difficulties can last a few days (transient) up to several weeks (chronic) at a time. Transient insomnia will often go away on its own. Chronic insomnia may be brought on by anxiety, stress and depression. In this case the insomnia may require medical intervention.
Chronic insomnia is present in about 10% of the adult population. It is most prevalent in the elderly and female populations. Daytime symptoms of insomnia include irritability, sleepiness, memory and concentration difficulties, mood swings, and headaches.
1. Poor sleep hygiene - not maintaining set rise and sleep times, watching TV or other wake activities in bed, etc may have an effect on your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.
2. Depression/anxiety - Many mood disorders are commonly linked to trouble sleeping.
3. Medications - Many prescription and non-prescription drugs can have an effect on your ability to sleep.
4. Medical conditions - Particularly conditions associated with chronic pain may induce insomnia. Also, periodic limb movements during sleep or Restless Legs Syndrome may contribute to sleeping problems. Central Sleep Apnea can lead to insomnia in rare instances.
5. Circadian Rhythm Disorder - In this case, basically your body has shifted the hours it expects to sleep away from the hours you want to sleep.
Diagnosis of insomnia is based on symptoms and history. A formal sleep study is not necessary, though is sometimes used to rule out nocturnal breathing problems and limb movements as a cause sleeping difficulties.
1. Practicing good sleep hygiene
2. Addressing depression via therapy or medication, if that is a factor
3. Changing medications that may cause insomnia
4. Behavioral Therapy- Learning methods to take one's mind of sleeping problems, trying to sleep only when very tired, etc.
5. Prescribing medications to help you sleep, though this is only a short term fix.
If you think you may have insomnia, seek help from a medical professional.