What is insomnia. What Causes Insomnia. How to treat a disease with medication and non-medication
Insomnia is a condition that makes it difficult to fall asleep. Insomnia can manifest itself as difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night after which it is difficult to fall asleep again, early awakening, or shallow sleep that does not allow rest. Prolonged insomnia can also cause feelings of stress, depression or nervousness, difficulty concentrating, learning, or remembering.
What Causes Insomnia?
Sleep disturbances can be a symptom of other mental and physical disorders, such as depression, drug and alcohol addiction, pain syndromes, metabolic and endocrine disorders (including hyperthyroidism). Thus, every person with sleep problems should undergo a general physical examination, on the basis of which it will be possible to determine whether the disorders that they are experiencing are secondary (caused by another disease) or primary.
For primary sleep disorders, the most common causes are:
• genetic conditions - the patient has symptoms of sleep disturbance since childhood, his sleep is shallow, intermittent and short. With age, due to improper lifestyle and natural aging mechanisms, these symptoms intensify and become chronic;
• psychophysiological reasons - associated with a difficult life situation, for example, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial problems and other situations that cause prolonged stress. If the patient's mental state does not improve for a long time, sleep disturbance becomes more permanent and becomes chronic;
• non-observance of the rules of sleep hygiene - improper lifestyle and bad habits can lead to the development of chronic problems with sleep. People, who wake up and fall asleep at different times, spend a lot of time in bed (for example, read, watch TV), eat late, spend a lot of time under artificial lighting, or do not engage in regular physical activity, often suffer from insomnia.
How to treat insomnia
If a patient is diagnosed with primary sleep disturbances, the most common treatment is hypnotics in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy.
In the treatment of insomnia, hypnotics are sometimes (additionally and temporarily) used, such as:
• hiking benzodiazepines;
• new generation sleeping pills (so-called Z-medications).
Sometimes other medicines are also used in pharmacotherapy for insomnia:
• antidepressants that have a sedative effect and improve the quality of sleep, they are used for chronic insomnia, using low doses, especially if it is associated with depression or other mental disorders;
• melatonin - used mainly for sleep disorders associated with jet lag, shift work, and sometimes insomnia in older people.
When the sleep problem is chronic and no clear cause of the sleep disturbance has been identified, behavioral-based methods will be effective for many people who suffer from primary sleep problems (non-medical insomnia). The principle of this approach is to voluntarily and consciously improve sleep hygiene. Improvement will be achieved through strict adherence to a number of rules that will help you sleep better:
1. Fixed hours of falling asleep and waking up
2. Falling asleep when tired
3. The duration of sleep should correspond to the time required for rest, but not more
4. It is necessary to sleep in a dark and quiet bedroom with a comfortable temperature in the room.
5. Choose a mattress and pillow that promote quality sleep
6. Develop regular sleep habits that induce conditioned sleep responses (reading, listening to calm music)
7. After 15-20 minutes of trying to sleep, move to another room and engage in non-stimulating activities (reading, listening to quiet music).
8. Do not go to bed hungry, but avoid overeating before bed
9. Avoid naps
Before you move on to treating insomnia, you need to identify the disorders in the body that cause it. Long-term use of sleeping pills can be unsafe for your health. Talk to your healthcare professional to identify the causes of insomnia. Perhaps simple adherence to cognitive-behavioral factors and regimen will help treat the disease.
If your doctor has prescribed medications for insomnia, you can find them in our SLEEPING DISORDERS section