Insomnia is a sleep disorder and people who suffer from this condition find it difficult to sleep or to stay asleep or even both. Different people need different amounts of sleep. So insomnia is not defined by the number of hours a person sleeps but by the quality of sleep and how a person feels after he/she wakes up. A person suffering from insomnia does not feel refreshed after waking up. Insomnia is often a symptom of some other health problem. Insomnia can be short-term, acute or long-term and it can be the result of an underlying medical condition or just because of consumption of too much caffeine.
Acute insomnia can last for a number of days or even for a few weeks and is generally caused by stress or some distressful happening. Chronic insomnia tends to occur about three times a week for a period of three months or more. Typically, chronic insomnia is the cause of some other problem like psychological issues, medical conditions or substance abuse. Short-term insomnia is generally the result of some changes in the lifestyle.
A person can deal with insomnia by changing his/her sleeping habit and sorting out any issue that may be causing him/her to stay awake. Some of the factors that need to be addressed so as to prevent insomnia are stress, medical conditions and some medications. A person may be recommended to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy if other measures do not work. Sometimes over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines help a person to deal with insomnia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps a person to eliminate or control the negative thoughts and actions that prevent him/her from having a good night’s sleep. This is generally the first line of treatment. A person may find it extremely difficult to sleep if he/she constantly worries about sleeping. Cognitive therapy helps to deal with these psychological issues. This treatment helps a person to develop good sleep habits and avoid such behavior that prevents a good sleep. Some of the strategies used in cognitive behavioral therapy include stimulus control therapy, relaxation techniques, sleep restriction and light therapy. Another unique procedure is the remaining passively awake technique. This treatment is also known as paradoxical intention which helps to reduce the worry and anxiety associated with the pressure of not being able to sleep. It requires a person to try and stay awake rather than falling asleep.
Prescription medicines may be recommended by a doctor to help a person to sleep or to stay asleep or both. Some of the prescription drugs that help to deal with insomnia are eszopiclone, ramelteon, zaleplon and zolpidem. Nonprescription medications which contain antihistamines help a person to feel drowsy and help with short-term insomnia.
Some of the basic lifestyle and home remedies that a person can make to deal with insomnia are by staying active, checking medications, avoiding naps during the daytime, limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol and sticking to a proper sleep schedule. A person should also avoid large meals before going to bed and avoid trying too hard to get some sleep.
Some of the symptoms that may help to understand whether a person is suffering from insomnia or not are: if a person wakes up early in the morning, if he/she experiences sleep that does not refresh or rejuvenate him/her and if he/she has problems falling or staying asleep. A person suffering from any of the symptoms can also suffer from fatigue, unexplained mood changes and may experience difficulty in concentrating on the daily tasks. Such a person is eligible for treatment.
A doctor can diagnose a person to be suffering from insomnia after evaluating his/her medical conditions, the social environment where he/she lives, the psychological or emotional conditions and the sleep history of the patient. A patient may also be required to maintain a sleep log which will help a physician to analyze his/her sleep pattern. Sometimes a sleep study may also be recommended at a sleep center. A person who has not been diagnosed with insomnia even after he/she has undergone such tests and evaluations is not eligible for treatment.
Prescription sleeping pills like escopiclone can cause grogginess, drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety, depression, nervous feeling, headache, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dry mouth, unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth and mild skin rashes. Over-the-counter sleep aids can cause dizziness, confusion, cognitive decline and cause difficulty in urination. Cognitive behavioral therapy obsessive compulsive member, panic disorder, phobias, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and even post traumatic stress disorder.
A person needs to imbibe some changes in his/her lifestyle even after undergoing treatment for insomnia. These changes may include sticking to a sleep schedule, being active regularly, avoiding untimely naps and also avoiding large meals before going to sleep. A person should make the bedroom ambience comfortable for sleeping and also devise ways to deal with his/her worries. Taking a hot bath, reading or listening to some soft music may help a person to overcome his/her sleep disorder.
A person suffering from insomnia due to changes in his/her lifestyle because of a new job or relocating to a new place may overcome the problem within a matter of days or a few weeks. However, a person suffering from chronic insomnia may have to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with the disorder. The recovery period may vary from person to person. A person on prescription drugs to treat insomnia may require about 6 months to recover from the symptoms.
The average cost of undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy may vary between Rs 1000 – Rs 5000 depending on the doctor and the duration of the session. Eszopiclone tablets can be obtained within a price range of Rs 60 – Rs 70. 10 tablets of ramelteon cost something around Rs 100.
Insomnia can be caused due to a number of reasons like an upsetting event or as a result of some medical condition, psychological issues or substance abuse. Thus a person who has too much alcohol or has to deal with any unfortunate situation may suffer from insomnia even after he/she has undergone treatment for this condition.
Having a warm glass of milk and honey before going to bed helps a person to tackle the symptoms of insomnia and get a good night’s sleep. People with insomnia need a calm and relaxing atmosphere to sleep. Exercises like yoga, meditating or even writing in a journal before bed helps a person to sleep.