What is Insomnia?
If you’re thinking that you suffer from insomnia, here’s the good and the bad news: You’re not alone. A recent study shows that over three million people in the US suffered from some form of insomnia during the past year. While there are a ton of reasons for this (including our stressed out lifestyles, eating habits, and general bad sleep hygiene) the good news is that for the majority of people, insomnia is a temporary affliction.
So what exactly is insomnia? Are your symptoms in line with the rest of the world? Can insomnia come from just one night of sleeping? Don’t stress, we will answer those questions in this blog, but realize this: the most important thing you can do to combat insomnia is to not worry too much about it. No matter what, anxiety is often an underlying factor in many cases of insomnia, either as the primary factor, or an exacerbating cause. Our bodies respond to our minds, and vice versa. Hopefully this blog will bring you peace of mind, and help you find the sleep you so desperately crave.
Unable to Sleep? That’s Insomnia
Simply speaking, insomnia is the general term for the inability to fall asleep, OR the inability to stay asleep. While this can take many forms and symptoms, those are the two common threads that weave their way through every case of insomnia. If you’re lying awake at two or three in the morning, wondering when you’re going to be able to sleep: that’s insomnia.
Fortunately, most insomnia is temporary. Low-grade insomnia is classified as only lasting for one to three nights. There could be a number of reasons for this, but often they are stress related. It’s not uncommon to have bouts of insomnia when you’re going through major life changes. Mid-grade insomnia lasts anywhere from a week to ten days. These symptoms can often be slightly more severe. It can bleed into your waking hours, where you might feel anxiety, depression, and a lack of regard for others’ emotions. Yes, that means a grouchy feeling. For this grade of insomnia, a sleep scientist might recommend looking at light to moderate lifestyle changes, including a consistent bedtime, a new mattress, or even reducing caffeine intake. High-grade insomnia is for anything lasting longer than a week. For this, it is important to consult a health professional so that you can get the care you need. Oftentimes a larger underlying cause like sleep apnea could be a culprit. In some serious cases, insomnia can be caused by heart disease or dementia. In those cases, a physician should be consulted for treatment.
Insomnia Sleep Disorder Symptoms
If you’re waking up still feeling tired or grouchy, that’s often a big warning of insomnia. Oftentimes insomniacs have dull waking hours that impair their ability to emotionally relate to others. This is because insomnia impairs emotional regulation. A new study in 2016 showed that people who suffered from sleep disorders were less likely to be able to relate to friends and coworkers than people who received a full night’s sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, your body may not respond to stimuli the way that it used to, you may feel old, used up, or generally tired. In these instances it’s important to try to address the problem as soon as possible. If you’ve already changed your lifestyle and the problems persist, you could try a new mattress. Oftentimes this can be a factor not immediately evident to the insomniac. If the problems continue to persist, consult a sleep specialist or your physician. Sleep is the best thing you can do for your body. Good luck, and happy dreams to you.