Do I Have Insomnia?
Do I Have Insomnia?
For about two and half weeks now, I haven't been able to sleep properly. I feel tired at a relatively normal hour, around eleven or midnight, but when I go to bed I can't fall asleep. I lay awake for hours, and then when I do fall asleep I only sleep for an hour or so before waking up again. In search of a cure for my sleeplessness, I decided to research sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders are much more common than I had expected. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 60 million Americans per year suffer from some sort of sleeping problems. There are more than 70 different sleep disorders that ...view middle of the document...
I always thought that insomnia was just not getting enough asleep. One interesting definition that I found described insomnia as the 'perception of poor-quality sleep' (3). This seems to indicate that it can almost be caused just by a person thinking that they aren't getting enough sleep. Insomnia can refer to difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, problems with not sleeping late enough, or feeling unrefreshed and tired after a night's sleep. Insomnia can cause such problems as sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Insomnia can be divided into three main categories, transient, chronic or intermittent. Transient insomnia is if it lasts from one night to four weeks. If transient insomnia returns periodically over months or years is becomes intermittent. It is chronic insomnia when it continues almost nightly for several months (4). Transient and intermittent types often do not require more treatment than an improvement in sleep hygiene.
There are many factors that can contribute to insomnia, and different issues trigger each type of insomnia. Transient and intermittent insomnia can be caused by something as simple as the sleeplessness that occurs just before a big test, and are very common and considered a normal stress reaction that will typically go away (5). Depression, internalized anger, anxiety and behavioral factors are the most common reasons for insomnia. The most frequent behaviors include consuming too much caffeine, alcohol or other substances, excessive napping, or stimulating activities such as smoking, exercising or watching television before bedtime (3). Insomnia can often be linked to mental illnesses or other diseases; for example, chronic insomnia is usually caused by depression (1). When a person is having sleep problems because of something else, it is called secondary insomnia. Environmental factors, such as discomfort or excessive light, and changes in a normal sleeping pattern, such as jet lag or moving to a new time zone, also cause transient insomnia (1). When none of these factors are contributing to a person's sleeplessness, they are considered to have primary insomnia, or insomnia that isn't caused by other obvious causes.
People who have insomnia tend to worry about the fact that they are not getting enough sleep, and sometimes their daytime behaviors contribute to increased lack of sleep. Worrying and...