Insomnia – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Introduction

Sleep is a great gift of nature which helps human beings to recuperate themselves.  Insomnia deprives them of this gift.  Insomnia is a condition where in the affected person finds it difficult to sleep, even though he/she may be tired.  This results in the person not being able to be active and energetic during waking hours.  More and more people are suffering from this sleep disorder.  In fact more than 30 million people in the US suffer from insomnia. 

Causes of insomnia

There are various causes of insomnia.  Psychological causes include anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, bi polar disorder and chronic stress.  Certain ailments which disturb the normal functioning of the human system like arthritis, high blood pressure, asthma, pain caused by injury, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, acid reflux, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumor, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, etc can cause insomnia. 

Some medicines like Ritalin, steroids, medicines which are high in alcohol, anti depressants, beta blockers, Midol, Excedrin, diuretics, Levodopa are known to cause insomnia.  Hormonal changes in the body is another main cause of insomnia.  Women suffer from insomnia when hormonal balance is disturbed during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. 

Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the pineal gland in the human brain.  This hormone regulates sleep in human beings.  As the person ages, this hormone secretion decreases.  This is one of the main reasons why elderly people are more likely to suffer from insomnia.  Sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea and narcolepsy are other common causes of insomnia. 

Consumption of beverages containing caffeine is proved to cause insomnia.  Travelers suffer from insomnia when they move from one time zone from another.  But this is temporary.  Some people believe that insomnia is heredity.  But this is not proved.  Excessive noise and extreme temperatures are other obvious causes of insomnia. 

Symptoms of insomnia

The primary symptom of insomnia is that the person finds it difficult to sleep.  Most of the sleeping hours are spent in tossing and turning in bed.  Also the affected person wakes up without any good reason in between sleep.  Lack of sleep results in inability to concentrate and remember during waking hours.  The person generally wakes up tired.  It affects the person’s ability to interact normally with the society. 

Treatment of insomnia

Generally, insomnia is a symptom.  Popping in a sleeping pills is definitely not a cure for insomnia.  They are addictive and may lead to further health complications.  Experts use cognitive therapy to treat insomnia.  Melatonin is used to treat insomnia.  Valerian is another herbal medicine which is used to treat insomnia. 

Useful tips on how to get rid of insomnia

While it is important to seek medical help, it is also important that the affected person makes suitable changes in lifestyle in order to get rid of this ailment.  The person should avoid caffeinated beverages, smoking or consuming alcohol before going to sleep. 

It is a good idea to avoid sleeping during the day.  It is good to follow a regular sleep pattern.  There should be minimum light and noise in the bedroom.  Working out before sleep is definitely not a good idea.  Yoga is good against insomnia.  Praying before sleep helps in preventing insomnia.

Conclusion

Insomnia affects the general well being of the affected person.  It is very important to get treated at the earliest.  Otherwise chronic insomnia may cause further health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure.  There have been many cases of people getting successfully cured of this aliment by undergoing proper treatment.

References

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

http://www.shuteye.com/

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insomnia/article_em.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/insomnia/article.htm

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