Insomnia is a common sleep disorder among all ages, especially among senior citizens. The patient should remember or write down all the insomnia symptoms he/she experiences and discuss with the physician to help in making a correct diagnosis. The most typical of all insomnia symptoms is difficulty in sleeping. Encounters with anxiety and/or depression are two main symptoms associated with insomnia. Insomnia symptoms include poor concentration and short memory. Insomniac people usually awake prematurely during sleep and have trouble falling asleep again. Insomniacs feel irritability without any obvious cause. It is especially experienced during the day. People suffering from insomnia frequently experience decreased alertness and mental sluggishness.
Insomnia symptoms may last for a little or longer time, depending on the type of insomnia. In case of Transient Insomnia, the symptoms last for a few nights. In Short-Term Insomnia, the symptoms stay for two to three weeks. If they last more than three weeks, the patient is suffering from Chronic Insomnia. Health experts also sometimes distinguish between primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is characterized by symptoms of difficulty in falling asleep, waking several times during sleep, and fatigue. These symptoms last for a month and has unknown cause. In secondary insomnia, there is a known underlying medical condition. Depression is major cause of secondary insomnia.
To diagnose the condition of sleeplessness as insomnia, the physician makes sure that the symptoms are not being caused by other sleep disorders or other disease or side effects of any medication. Along with the symptoms of insomnia, other disorders may be detected in the same patient; these include mania, depression, phobias, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Help for Insomnia
It is often possible to fight insomnia with simple home remedies; however, when the insomnia crosses two weeks and you start feeling groggy, disoriented, acutely irritated and totally lost, it is time you go for professional insomnia help.
The treatments available for insomnia are varied and very efficient. Reaching at the right diagnosis is quite problematic, which involves a battery of tests and long-drawn assessment studies. This is why people usually avoid asking for professional insomnia help unless it becomes too much to bear otherwise. Most of the times, the homemade cures will dramatically improve your condition; however, in case you still experience this problem, it could be an indication of some serious health problem which would necessitate a doctor’s opinion. You should always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. A timely medical intervention may save your life.
Tips for Insomnia
Insomnia tips no 1 – Do not sleep or even take a cat nap (those 10-20 minutes forty winks), if you are prone to insomnia attacks. Maintain strict timings both for sleep and for your meals.
Insomnia tips no 2 – Eat your dinner at least four hours ahead of your bed time. For example, if you normally retire at 10:30 pm, have your dinner at 6:30 – 7:00 pm latest. Often insomnia is aggravated by digestive problems, and hence, it is best to avoid the problem altogether.
Insomnia tips no 3 – Avoid any drink that influences sleep, such as coffee in any form, alcohol, and even tea (unless it is medicated). In case you must have your regular cup of coffee, at least ensure that you take it before a minimum of four hours from your bedtime.
Insomnia tips no 4 – Introduce daily exercise in your routine. In case you are not too fond of physical exercise, you can simply take a walk for about 30 minutes daily; try to gradually increase it to one hour or so for best results.
Insomnia tips no 5 – If you find that you cannot sleep, do not fight it. Sleep usually comes after your body relaxes completely. The best thing to do is get up from the bed and do something that you enjoy (reading, listing to music, writing letters to dear ones, etc) aiming to relax your mind and body.
Treatment for Insomnia
Majority of people suffering from sleep disorders turn to pills and medications. This proves to be working at first, but gradually some problems arise that need serious consideration before one starts with a particular kind of sleeping pills or medication. These days, both over the counter medications and prescriptions pills are used for insomnia treatment.
Over the counter medications for insomnia are usually ineffective in log term insomnia treatment. First of all, they do not ensure the quality of sleep enjoyed by healthy people. They give about 5 % duration of deep sleep while in healthy sleep this duration is 10 % to 25 %. Secondly, over the counter drugs for insomnia mostly work by the action of antihistamines (anti-allergic chemicals) present in them. These include chemicals like diphenhydramine citrate, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, and doxylamine succinate. While antihistamines do cast a sedating effect, they are not to be used by people with prostate problems, angina, heart problems, and urinary problems. Antihistamines can add to the intensity of these conditions. Finally, over the counter drugs have a number of side effects like: drowsiness and dizziness (that may remain for twenty four hours), memory lapses, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and urinary retention.
Various types of medications, collectively called hyptonics, are prescribed for insomnia treatment. Hypnotics generally fall in three categories: benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. Most of the health experts agree on using insomnia medications for a short period only. In all cases of using over the counter drugs or prescribed medications, it is important that the patient educate him/herself well on the possible side effects.