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Insomnia


Insomnia is the disruption of sleep. Insomnia affects the body's natural ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia occurs through habitual behaviour or as a reaction to physical or emotional problems. Insomnia can be caused by lifestyle issues but the common causes of insomnia are stress, anxiety or depression.
Insomnia

In This Article
Did you know? Causes Of Insomnia
Symptoms Of Insomnia Diagnosing Insomnia
Related Terms

• 1 in 11 suffer insomnia longer than 6 months at a time
• Nearly one third of the UK population suffer with insomnia
• Women over the age of 60 are more likely to suffer with insomnia
• Each year around 13 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued in the UK
• People typically need 8 hours sleep a night but some can live on as little as 4


The causes of insomnia are typically broken down into categories of physical, lifestyle/environment, psychological, psychiatric and pharmacological. Physical causes of insomnia are caused by underlying conditions of pain, discomfort or involuntary movements. Arthritis, back pain and persistent headaches can affect sleep as can stomach ulcers or acid reflux. Restless leg syndrome, respiratory disorders and Parkinson's disease can also cause insomnia.

Lifestyle and environmental factors can lead to insomnia. External noise and light, snoring, a fidgeting partner or excessive caffeine or alcohol can disrupt sleeping patterns. Jet lag from moving through different time-zones and activities such as exercise can also be the cause of insomnia. Psychological causes of insomnia occur during or after a traumatic event such as bereavement or relationship breakdown. Examination stress or work issues make sleeping difficult as do anxieties about the inability to fall asleep.

Insomnia can be caused by psychiatric conditions that affect mental health such as depression, anxiety or dementia. Taking medications can lead to pharmacological causes of insomnia and a withdrawal from hypnotics prescribed for sleep disorders can lead to rebound insomnia. Antidepressants, decongestants, appetite suppressants, beta-blockers and corticosteroids can produce side-effects of sleep disruption.

Other sleep disorders affect the body's natural ability to stay asleep. These disorders include narcolepsy (uncontrollable sleep at any time of day), sleepwalking and sleep apnoea (irregular breathing when asleep).


Symptoms of insomnia are dependent on the type of sleeping problem but typically include lying awake and being unable to fall asleep, constant waking during the night, waking early in the morning, feeling tired, a lack of energy, poor concentration, reduced function during the day and mood swings.

Insomnia can last a few days or over longer periods of months and years. How long insomnia affects a person can be broken down into three categories: Transient insomnia typically lasts 2-3 days, short-term insomnia can last from a few days to three weeks and chronic insomnia last for three weeks or longer and can lead to mental health conditions such as depression.


A visit to a GP will identify any contributory causes to insomnia such as excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. The GP will also ask about medical history and medications that may be the underlying cause of insomnia. If the causes are not obvious, the GP may recommend keeping a sleep diary to help identify a pattern to the sleep disturbances.

There are physical tests to help diagnose the cause of sleep disturbance but these are generally used for the diagnosis of sleep apnoea. A polysomnography test records electrical activity in the brain, respiratory rate, heart activity and muscle movement while asleep. These tests can take place at home or at a research centre and may be video taped.


  • Chronic Insomnia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Sleep
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Loss Of Sleep
  • Sleep Loss
  • Problem Sleeping
  • Sleeplessness
  • Restless Legs
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Sleep Maintenance Insomnia
  • Sleep Onset Insomnia
  • Transient Insomnia
  • Short Term Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Hypersomnia


Therapies to consider
Acupuncture Alexander Technique Allergy Intolerance Testing
Aromatherapy Art Therapy Ayurvedic Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Counselling
Craniosacral Therapy Detoxification EFT
Energy Healing Hawaiian Massage Herbal Medicine
Holistic Massage Hypnotherapy Indian Head Massage
Kinesiology Massage Naturopathy
NLP Nutrition Psychotherapy
Reflexology Reiki Shiatsu
Thought Field Therapy Vertical Reflex Therapy Yoga


 

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