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Mental Health Care for Sleep Disorders
Though sleep disorders are quite common, it's often neglected until the condition gets out of hand. Therefore it's crucial to identify it at the right time and take steps to relieve it. The treatment of sleep disorders is dependent on two factors – the type and severity you are experiencing. It can be treated using soothing and relaxing techniques, over-the-counter sleeping pills, CBT-I, and sometimes through a combination of both. Sleep disorder is fairly common, and most of us are bound to suffer from it at some point in our lives. In fact, according to research by the Cleveland Clinic, around 50 % of adults experience insomnia. It is also said that at least 1 in 10 people has chronic insomnia. This 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. It leads to reduced productivity and quality of life.
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There are various causes of sleep disorders. It can be either primary or secondary. Here're a some of the major causes:
Stress – Stress is probably the biggest contributor to sleeplessness in most people. Stress can be related to work, home, school, college, relationships, family, or financial causes. Other causes of stress include trauma induced due to the loss of a loved one or illness of some kind. All of this can cause your mind to be hyperactive at night, making you stay wide awake.
Improper sleeping habits – Sleeping habits are particularly important when it comes to having a good sleep cycle. Improper sleeping habits can wreak havoc on your sleeping schedule. Improper sleep habits include habits like not having a bedtime schedule, drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol right before sleeping, not having a conducive sleeping environment, watching TV programs, playing games, using smartphones late at night, etc.
Having a heavy dinner – Having a heavy dinner can lead you to have sleepless nights. It can lead to digestive issues like heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, etc. It occurs due to the backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus when lying down.
Irregular work timings and schedules – Irregular work timings and schedules can lead to disturbance in your circadian rhythms. So, what exactly is circadian rhythm? Circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock governing your daily vital activities like the sleeping-waking cycle, metabolism, and temperature of your body. Disruptions in circadian rhythm can cause sleeplessness. It can be disturbed due to jet lag due to constant traveling across different time zones, working late night shifts, etc.
Mental health disorders – Sleep disorders can also be caused due to mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. This condition mostly pre-exists in these mental health disorders.
Certain medications – These are certain medications that cause interference with your sleep cycle. Here're some of the main ones:
Asthma and blood-pressure medicines
Weight loss medicines
Certain medical conditions – There are certain medical conditions that cause interference with your sleep cycle and cause sleep disorders. Here're some of the main medical conditions that may cause this condition:
Different Types of Sleep Issues
Insomnia is categorized into 5 major types based on its 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 - This is the most common type of sleep disorder. 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 job stress or the death of a near and dear one.
Onset insomnia – This can be both short-term and long-term. In this type, a person usually finds it difficult to initiate sleep. The most common cause is psychological issues. Other causes of this condition are:
Stress, anxiety, and depression
Consumption of caffeine and other stimulants
Chronic insomnia – When this condition becomes long-term, it's called chronic insomnia. If a person is said to be suffering from this ailment, they experience difficulty sleeping at least 3 days a week for at least a month. It has 2 types: Primary and Secondary. Primary 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.
Maintenance insomnia - This 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.
BIC - 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 limit-setting, and BIC combined type.
There's a lot you can do to prevent sleeplessness. Here're a few important tips to prevent sleeplessness:
Maintain the same waking and sleeping time – Maintaining the same waking and sleeping time is vital for preventing sleeplessness. Though staying up late on the weekends may seem like a great idea, know that it can disrupt your circadian rhythm. So, make it a priority to sleep and to wake up at the same time each day.
Say no to alcohol and other stimulants – If you are someone who survives on coffee, make sure you drink it early in the day. If you can avoid it, even better. Why? Because caffeine stays in your system for up to 24 hours, and that can cause sleep issues. Make sure to avoid alcohol too. Though it acts as a sedative for a few hours, it is bound to cause sleeplessness after that.
Limit your nap time – Though napping may seem like a great idea to make up for lost sleep, it can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Hence, you must train your body to fall asleep at the same time by associating it with cues like darkness which will make it easy for you to fall asleep at night.
Make sure to exercise regularly – Exercising regularly can improve your sleep quality and increase your sleep duration. But, try to avoid exercising very close to bedtime. Maintain a 3-hour gap between your sleeping and exercising.
Avoid drinking or eating right before bedtime – Drinking and eating close to your bedtime can leave you turning and tossing the whole night. Eating close to your bedtime can cause digestive issues like GERD, acid reflux, etc. Also, drinking close to your bedtime can send you on bathroom trips all night.
Stress management – Stress management is crucial for having a good night's sleep. You can try activities like yoga, meditation, music, painting, drawing, etc., to relieve your stress. You can also try relaxation techniques like aromatherapy, massage, breathing techniques, etc., for effective stress management.
How to Recover From Your Symptoms
Recovering from your symptoms is dependent on the type you have or the underlying cause behind it. Some treatment of sleep disorders can be done using over-the-counter sleeping aids and effective stress management. In contrast, the treatment of more severe sleep disorders requires addressing the root cause of it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication are both used as treatment options. In fact, CBT-I has proved to be much more effective than over-the-counter sleeping medications. CBT-I is an evidence-based, short, and structured method used to treat the symptoms of sleeplessness. It involves helping the patient identify the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause the sleep disorder. The treatment involves examining and testing the thoughts and behavior to judge their accuracy. In case they are found to be inaccurate, those are restructured and replaced by healthier thoughts and behaviors that will promote sleep. Treatment usually takes around 6-8 sessions, but it can even take a lesser amount of time than that.
Find Help From a Licensed Therapist Who’s Right For You
Though 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.
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So, if you are someone suffering from any form of insomnia and your relaxation techniques aren't making it any better, don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can easily book a session with one of our trusted psychiatrists by visiting our book a psychiatrist page.