What is insomnia?
When most people think of insomnia, they think of someone who struggles to sleep and thus stays up through all hours of the night. Sleeplessness is the most common symptom, but it’s not the only one. Other symptoms include depression, irritability, headaches, digestive problems and daytime sleepiness.
What causes it?
Just as there are a variety of symptoms, there are also a wide variety of causes. Medical conditions that can cause it include allergies, acid reflux, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions, chronic pain, and back pain. Medications for colds, allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, and depression can cause it, too. Stress, caffeine or alcohol usage and even the sleeping environment can also cause it. Insomnia is often caused by other conditions, such as depression or sleep apnea, for instance. In such cases, it is cured by treating the underlying condition that has caused it.
How do you treat it?
Short-term insomnia, which is often caused by stress, may go away without treatment. Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week, while acute insomnia lasts for a month or less. Chronic insomnia lasts for longer than three months. Chronic symptoms can be much more severe than short-term insomnia. Hallucinations, double vision and muscular or mental fatigue are not uncommon for those suffering from chronic insomnia.
Sleep medicine as well as behavioral therapy can also be an effective treatment. If you have any of these symptoms, please contact our sleep medicine specialists, who practice in our SouthPark, Belmont, and Blakeney offices. They can determine if your sleeping difficulties can be attributed to insomnia.