What is Insomnia and What are the Symptoms of Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or both, states WebMD. Individuals typically have one or more of four major symptoms: difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently and struggling to fall back asleep, waking up early in the morning or feeling tired after waking. There are two main types of insomnia, according to WebMD. Primary insomnia is characterized by sleep issues not associated with another health problem. Secondary insomnia, on the other hand, occurs when a pre-existing health condition, pain or substance use is causing sleep issues. This can include physical ailments such as asthma, arthritis or heartburn, or mental conditions such as depression.

Insomnia can also be classified as either acute or chronic, states WebMD. Acute insomnia, or short-term insomnia, can last between one night to a few weeks. Chronic insomnia occurs when a person struggles to sleep at least three nights per week, for a period of one month or longer. Individuals struggling to sleep or suffering from one of the symptoms of insomnia should visit a health care provider for proper diagnosis and treatment, advises WebMD. Additional symptoms that may indicate a problem with insomnia include fatigue during the day; difficulty concentrating and remembering things; general sleepiness; and irritability.

Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling and staying asleep at night and feeling tired after a night’s sleep, states Mayo Clinic. An insomnia sufferer takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep and sleeps for less than six hours for three or more nights a week over a 30-day period.

Additional insomnia symptoms include awakening earlier than needed, daytime fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, inattentiveness, clumsiness, tension headaches, brooding over sleep and distress about sleep, explains Mayo Clinic. Consult a doctor to determine the cause of insomnia if symptoms make it hard to function during the day. A doctor may suggest a sleep center to determine if insomnia symptoms indicate a sleep disorder.

Complications of insomnia symptoms include substance abuse, decreased performance at school or on the job, obesity, increased risk for long-term conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and slowed reaction time that increases the risk of accidents, according to Mayo Clinic. Risk for insomnia is greater for women, older adults, individuals under stress, those with a mental health disorder and individuals traveling long distances. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine taken late in the day may intensify insomnia symptoms, and eating too much before sleeping can cause insomnia from heartburn.

What are some signs of having a sleeping disorder?

The signs of a sleeping disorder include frequent napping or persistent fatigue during the day; lack of concentration; sleeping inappropriately, especially when sitting; and waking up earlier than normal in the morning. A person with a sleeping disorder may also experience loud breathing or snoring during sleep and a feeling of wanting to move legs, especially during bedtime.

Because a sleeping disorder may signify a serious underlying condition, it is advisable to seek immediate medical care when the signs of the condition persist to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of the cause, states. Some of the tests that may help to diagnose the cause of a sleeping disorder include electroencephalogram and polysomnography. Based on the results of the diagnosis, the doctor may recommend treatment options such as sleeping pills, allergy medications and psychotherapy.

A sleeping disorder is a short-term or long-term condition in which an individual experiences disturbance in his sleeping habit as a result of an underlying disease or condition. Causes of sleeping disorders include bedwetting, which typically affects children; restless leg syndrome, which is an increased leg movement during sleep; and insomnia, which is a prolonged lack of sleep due to anxiety, stress and hormonal changes. Sleeping disorders may also result from allergies, sleep apnea and nocturia, which is a condition in which the night time urination frequency is higher than normal.

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