Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

A common problem many people suffer from is insomnia, which is a disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia often causes people to awaken feeling tired, which can cause difficulty functioning throughout the day. Not only does insomnia cause low energy levels, but it can cause changes in mood and overall health. For many, insomnia is a short-term condition; however, some suffer from long-term (chronic) insomnia. There are many symptoms of insomnia that are associated with the condition.

Insomnia Symptoms

You can experience one or more symptoms of insomnia. The main symptoms associated with insomnia are difficulty falling asleep. Other common signs of insomnia include awakening frequently throughout the night, waking too early and not feeling rested upon wakening. It’s not uncommon to experience fatigue during the day. Many with insomnia experience anxiety, depression and irritability. Insomnia can make it difficult to focus on tasks, increase the risk for errors or accidents and can cause tension headaches. Gastrointestinal symptoms can occur as well.

Insomnia Complications

Most adults require about seven hours of sleep every night to remain healthy. If adequate sleep isn’t achieved, health complications can begin to occur as fatigue takes a toll on the body. Mental and physical complications can occur. Insomnia can lead to lower performance levels on the job and school. There is an increased risk for accidents because lack of sleep slows reaction time. Depression and anxiety are associated with insomnia as well. Those with insomnia often suffer from obesity and develop a weak immune system. Long-term diseases can develop, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Insomnia Risk Factors

While anyone can suffer from insomnia, certain risk factors raise the risk for this disorder. Women are much more likely to suffer from insomnia due to hormonal shifts, such as those that occur during menstrual cycles and menopause. The risk for insomnia increases with age; therefore, people over 60 have an increased risk for this disorder. An underlying mental health condition such as depression can lead to insomnia as well. Stress is a major trigger of insomnia. Short-term stress often leads to short-term insomnia. Working late or changing shifts can lead to insomnia, as well as traveling long distances.

While most cases of insomnia generally subside without the need for treatment, some cases, such as chronic insomnia, may require treatment. Persistent insomnia symptoms require treatment from a physician. A physician will ask numerous questions to learn more about the experienced symptoms. A physical exam is conducted as well to properly diagnose insomnia and to set a proper course of treatment. Therapies, medications and lifestyle changes are typically used to treat insomnia. Over-the-counter sleep aids are often beneficial as well while dealing with insomnia.

References:

"Insomnia: Treatments and Drugs" https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

"Insomnia Symptoms" https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/inso/inso_signsandsymptoms.html

"Insomnia" https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/insomnia/