Monday, April 20, 2009

Insomnia just like sleep-disasters for me


Insomnia is one of the most commonly addressed problems with sleeping. It refers to a state of habitual sleeplessness. It can include the issue of not being able to fall asleep in the first place or the problem of waking up during the night and not being able to fall back to sleep. This condition can last from a few days to weeks or months at a time.

Besides not being able to sleep, other symptoms include waking up early in the morning and yet not feeling awake or refreshed enough from the sleep you did have. Also, daytime fatigue and drowsiness along with irritability will highlight that you are not getting enough of or the right kind of sleep. For some individuals the problem becomes so persistent that they will resort to sleeping pills or alcohol to achieve some rest.

It has been stated that close to 20% of the population can be suffering from insomnia at any given time. And while it is not regarded to be dangerous to an individual in and of itself, it can be extremely frustrating and have an eventual dramatic effect on their daily lives.

Initially the effect may just be the aforementioned drowsiness or irritability. And for many it may result in a lesser ability to perform routine tasks or demonstrate higher creativity. If it continues over a few days it can begin to dramatically affect one's work performance and may even alter one's personality traits. If it becomes a chronic issue, studies have shown that productivity declines, safety and health problems can result

As can be imagined, there is a long list of medical causes that could contribute to someone developing insomnia. These include straightforward physical pain and muscle aches, indigestion, breathing issues, depression, anxiety, hypoglycemia, stress and profound grief. Obviously, while some of these conditions may be temporary, others may be lifelong issues that require a constant surveillance.

Certain drugs or food products such as caffeine can stimulate the body and contribute to sleeplessness. Included in this list are Pseudoephedrine which is a decongestant that is found in many cold and allergy products, medications for heart problems and high blood pressure, some appetite suppressant drugs, the antiseizure drug Dilantin, and some thyroid replacement medication.

In recent times, attention has been brought to a condition known as 'restless leg syndrome' which can also prevent someone from getting a good night's sleep. This is manifested by their legs twitching or jerking involuntarily while lying down. Much is unfortunately still unknown about this problem.

However, a very well documented and serious disorder known as 'sleep apnea' disrupts sleep through irregular breathing. The breathing process actually stops, sometimes for a few seconds, or up to as much as two minutes. Gasping for air the affected sleeper awakens. This can repeat itself dozens of times during the night and yet the individual may not remember it in the morning.

Of course other factors can come into play such as traveling and going through a change in time zones. Who hasn't had to fight a case of jet lag? Or some other change in schedule could throw off a person's sleep schedule and make it difficult to get back into what may be a more usual routine. And there also exists the possibility that a person simply doesn't follow through on good bedtime habits that can induce good sleep. Ultimately, whatever the underlying cause, the result is insomnia. And it can become a great challenge to find a good night's sleep.


There are different kinds of insomnia:

  • Sleep Onset Insomnia(Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome): A disorder in which the major sleep episode is delayed in relation to the desired clock time that results in symptoms of sleep onset insomnia or difficulty in awakening at the desired time.

  • Idiopathic Insomnia: A lifelong inability to obtain adequate sleep that is presumably due to an abnormality of the neurological control of the sleep-wake system. The insomnia is long-standing, commonly beginning in early childhood, sometimes since birth.

  • Psychophysiological Insomnia: A disorder of somatized tension (conversion of anxiety into physical symptoms) and learned sleep-preventing association that results in a complaint of insomnia and associated decreased functioning during wakefulness.

  • Childhood Insomnia (Limit-Setting Sleep Disorder): Primarily a childhood disorder that is characterized by the inadequate enforcement of bedtimes by a caretaker with resultant stalling or refusal to go to bed at the appropriate time.

    Another kind of insomnia that generally affects children is called Sleep-Onset Association Disorder. This disorder occurs when sleep onset is impaired by the absence of a certain object or set of circumstances, such as being held, rocked or nursed; television watching, radio listening, etc. ( Could be true for the Peanuts cartoon character Linus and his blanket?)

  • Food Allergy Insomnia: A disorder of initiating and maintaining sleep due to an allergic response to food allergens. It is typically associated with the introduction of a new food or drink, i.e., cow's milk.

  • Enviornmental Insomnia (Enviornmental Sleep Disorder): A sleep disturbance due to a disturbing enviornmental factor that causes a complaint of either insomnia or excessive sleepiness. (How about the garbage man or the leaf blower early in the morning!?)

  • Transient Insomnia (Adjustment Sleep Disorder): Represents sleep disturbance temporally related to acute stress, conflict or enviornmental change causing emotional agitation.

  • Periodic Insomnia (Non 24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome): Consists of a chronic (lasting a long time) steady pattern consisting of 1-2 hour daily delays in sleep onset and wake times in an individual living in society.

  • Altitude Insomnia: An acute (short and sharp course, not chronic) insomnia usually accompanied by headaches, loss of appetite, and fatigue, that occurs following ascent to high altitudes. (Unless you are a mountain climber or a mountain goat, this kind of insomnia won't apply)

  • Hypnotic-Dependency Insomnia (Hypnotic-Dependent Sleep Disorder): Characterized by insomnia or excessive sleepiness that is associated with tolerance to or withdrawal from hypnotic medications.

  • Stimulant-Dependent Sleep Disorder: Charcterized by a reduction of sleepiness or suppression of sleep by central stimulants, and resultant alterations in wakefulness following drug abstinence.

  • Alcohol-Dependent Insomnia (Alcohol-Dependent Sleep Disorder): Characterized by the assisted initiation of sleep onset by the sustained ingestion of alcohol that is used for its hypnotic effect.

  • Toxin-Induced Sleep Disorder: Characterized by either insomnia or excessive sleepiness produced by poisoning with heavy metals or organic toxins.


0 komentar:

This Day in History



"Magical Template" designed by Blogger Buster