Learning About Insomnia: A Symptom, Not a Disease

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Contrary to popular belief, insomnia is a symptom that is experienced by someone who is experiencing other health problems. A doctor will try to find the root cause of the problem that is causing the insomnia, rather than trying to treat the insomnia itself. Insomnia is, by definition, the inability to effectively initiate and maintain regular sleep. Sometimes insomnia can occur when an individual does not get enough sleep or sleep for a long enough period of time.

Sleeplessnes is a very common experience of people in the United States. A study showed that around 64 million people suffered from sleep issues during 2007. Women are much more likely to have sleep disturbances than men at the rate of 1.4 times more occurences.

There are three different kinds of insomnia that are regularly experienced by people all over the world. In each type the symptoms are the same, the only difference being how long the sleeplessness lasts.

~ Chronic Insomnia – This is the most serious of the three types. A person is considered to have chronic sleep issues when they have been experiencing sleeplessnes for a year or more. Some of the symptoms include: hallucinations, double vision, mental fatigue, tiredness and muscle fatigue. A person suffering with chronic insomnia will often seem to have hyper-alertness. It is not rare for everything to seem like it is in slow motion.

~ Acute Insomnia – Happens when someone cannot sleep normally for 3 weeks to 6 months.

~ Transient Insomnia – This can be caused by many things that are common to us in our fast-paced lifestyle such as: a change in where you are sleeping, when you go to bed, stress and major depression. Transient type typically lasts several days to weeks.

There are a great number of things that can cause sleep problems, so stay on the lookout for them and make sure they are addressed.

Here are some of the most common causes of insomnia:

~ Stimulant and other drugs such as caffeine, certain medicines, amphetamines, cocaine, crack and others. Certain antibiotic drugs can also lead to problems falling to and maintaining restful sleep. Ask your doctor if you are on an antibiotic.

~ Changes in estrogen levels like those which are experienced while menstruating or dealing with menopause.

~ General life issues such as stress from work or finances.

~ Schizophrenia, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, and major depression can all cause chronic sleep problems.

Doctors often prescribe a sleep aid to patients who suffer from these mental Illnesses.

~ Circadian rhythm disturbance – Those who work 3rd shift or travel across time zones often are prime causes of sleep disturbances.

A person’s internal clock loses it’s ‘bearings’ because they are constantly sleeping at different times or during the daytime. The human body works much more efficiently when it rests during night-time hours.

~ Noise and intestinal parasites can aggravate you just enough to keep you from getting that precious sleep.

If you are feeling fatigued during the day, make sure you talk to your doctor and see if he has any ideas. He might prescribe you a sleep aid or set you up for an overnight sleeping test. Sleep is one of the most important parts of our day and should be maintained at a regular and healthy interval.

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