Insomnia is a term commonly used to refer to a variety of sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can be the cause of many forms of severe discomfort and have an adverse effect on a persons’ quality of life. Sleep deprivation can of course cause a person to feel constantly fatigued, tired, or sleepy, but in addition to this can also cause an individual to be overly emotional and irritable. Taken to extremes, these feelings could not only harm the individual themselves, but could also pose a risk to those around them.
Often, sleep abnormalities are simply referred to as insomnia, however insomnia is not a stand alone disorder in and of itself. Insomnia is often an outward symptom and could actually be caused by many things. Before insomnia can be qualified as a sleep disorder three conditions must be met. To begin with, a person must display difficulty falling or staying asleep and experience generally poor sleep patterns. Next, the problem must persist even in the most optimal of sleep environments. Lastly, the negative effects on one’s sleep must cause the individual difficulties even when awake. Some common waking issues attributed to insomnia are poor concentration, lack of focus, muscle aches, fatigue, mood swings, and a general lack of energy.
As much as a third of the population is affected by insomnia in some way. One can experience some relief from sleep disorders which cause insomnia with behavioral changes or therapeutic cognitive activities. Improving sleep hygiene, control of excessive stimuli, and activities such as writing or solving puzzles have shown promise in mitigating sleep disorders. These measures may also be paired with more traditional treatments which involve therapy and medication to achieve the desired result of decreasing the occurrence of insomnia.
Insomnia is generally characterized by either the length of its occurrence or its source. Feelings of insomnia that persist for only a few days or weeks are referred to as transient. Most people, at some point in their lives, experience transient insomnia. This type of insomnia is generally a symptom of stress or a disruption of the body’ circadian rhythms. It can be caused by something a s simple as worrying about the health of a loved one or anticipating starting a new job. It can also be caused by changes in your work schedule or as a result of jet lag. Transient insomnia tends to disappear once the stressful situation passes, the individual adjusts to the new schedule, or the circadian rhythm resets naturally.
A second classification of insomnia is chronic insomnia and is defined as episodes of insomnia that last for three weeks or more. If someone suffering from transient insomnia cannot escape the causes behind their poor sleep then it can develop into chronic insomnia chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia can have a severely adverse effect on one’s quality of life and therefore should be treated.
Insomnia classified by source is referred to as either primary or secondary. Primary insomnia is a sleep disorder that meets the three criteria mentioned previously and may require very specific therapies and treatments. Secondary insomnia is a sleep disorder causes by something else, such as restless legs syndrome. It can also be caused by illness or medication. Secondary insomnia is relieved by treating the root cause of the disorder.
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to common ailments. It can also affect your day to day life, causing one to feel tired constantly, have a hard time concentrating on tasks, and generally exhibiting behavior that can be classified as anti-social. In general, going without sleep is not healthy. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, but you must make sure you get enough sleep to allow your body the rest it needs.