Insomnia has become one of the most common problems in today’s day and age. According to research by the Cleveland Clinic, around 50 % of adults experience it. In fact, at least 1 in 10 people suffer from chronic insomnia. So what exactly is it? It is a sleep disorder that causes difficulty in either falling asleep or staying asleep. It causes you to feel fatigued and lethargic during the day due to sleep deprivation.
A Brief Overview
This condition can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. It can even make it difficult for you to get back to sleep or can make you wake up early. It can be both short-term and long-term. It can affect anyone, but it’s more prevalent in women and older adults.
There are various causes of this condition. Some of the common ones are stress, menopause, some medical conditions, and mental health disorders. It can adversely affect your mood, energy levels, work productivity, and quality of life.
Different Kinds of Insomnia
This condition is categorized into 5 major types based on the lasting duration, effects it has on your sleep, and its underlying cause. The 5 different types are Acute, Chronic, Onset, Maintainance, and BIC.
Acute insomnia is the most common type. It is mostly short-term. It lasts from a few days to weeks. It is also known as adjustment insomnia, as it occurs due to a stressful situation. It can be anything from job stress to the death of a near and dear one.
The main causes are:
- Disruptions in sleep due to environmental factors like light or sound
- Change in bed due to change in place due to traveling
- Certain kinds of medications
- Certain kinds of illness
- Jet lag
- Change in job, place, or school
- Some kind of pain or discomfort in the body
- Relationship issues
- Work stress
- Death of a close relative or friend
When this condition becomes long-term, it’s called chronic insomnia. If a person is said to be suffering from this, they experience difficulty in sleeping at least 3 days a week for at least a month.
It has 2 types: Primary and Secondary. Primary chronic insomnia has no specific cause and is thus also known as idiopathic insomnia, while secondary occurs due to certain medical conditions and is thus also known as comorbid insomnia.
The main causes are:
- Medical conditions like acid reflux, thyroid, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, etc
- Psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disease
- Consuming certain kinds of medications such as blood pressure, hormonal pills, anti-depressants, respiratory drugs, etc.
- Sinus and nasal congestion
- Lifestyle factors such as jet lag, rotational shifts at a job, irregular sleep timings, etc
Onset insomnia can be both short-term and long-term. With this type, a person usually finds it difficult to initiate sleep. The most common cause is psychological issues, however, other causes include.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Consumption of caffeine and other stimulants
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Maintenance insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person wakes up early or has trouble staying asleep or getting back to sleep. This occurs because the person fears that he won’t be able to get back to sleep or not get enough sleep. This leads to a vicious cycle making the condition even worse.
The main causes are:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Respiratory diseases like asthma
- Sleep apnea
- Periodic limb movement disorder
- Restless leg syndrome
- Chronic pain
Behavioral insomnia of childhood (BIC) is a sleep disorder that affects around 25% of children. It is treated effectively using behavioral therapy.
BIC can be divided into three types:
- BIC sleep onset – BIC sleep onset occurs due to the negative attachments to sleep. For e.g., Watching TV while sleeping, the habit of being rocked while sleeping, etc. BIC sleep onset can be treated by making certain behavioral changes like maintaining a healthy sleep routine or using self-soothing techniques.
- BIC limit-setting – BIC limit-setting occurs due to the child’s denial to go to sleep. In this condition, the child tries his best to put off going to bed. For e.g., A child asking his parent to read them another bedtime story
- BIC combined type – As the name signifies, it’s a combination of both BIC sleep onset and BIC limit-setting. It occurs due to the child’s negative attachments to sleep and denies going to bed due to limit-set by the parents or caretaker.
Treatment depends on the type you have or the underlying cause behind it. Hence, treatment of acute types can be done using over-the-counter sleeping aids and effective stress management. While the treatment of chronic types requires addressing the root cause of it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication are both used to treat this ailment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is one of the most popular methods used to treat this condition. CBT-I is an evidence-based, short, and structured method used to treat the symptoms. It involves helping the patient identify the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that assist in causing these feelings.
The treatment involves examining and testing the thoughts and behavior to judge their accuracy. In case they are found to be inaccurate, those are restricted and replaced by healthier thoughts and behaviors that will promote sleep. Treatment usually takes around 6-8 sessions, but it can take an even lesser amount of time than that.
Seek Help for Your Sleep Disorder from a Trusted Provider with Docvita
Though some acute sleep disorder causes can be treated easily using over-the-counter sleep pills or by using stress management techniques, the treatment of other types of sleep disorders may require seeking the help of a professional.
So, if you are having trouble falling asleep, and it’s interfering with your life and work, it’s high time you seek the help of a trusted provider. We at DocVita have various specialists from different fields to help you manage and cope with your sleep disorder. All you have to do is hop on to the book a psychiatrist page and book your session