What is insomnia and what are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms of insomnia include general/overall tiredness, frequent irritability, memory lapses and difficulty focusing and concentrating on tasks, and yawning and feeling tired and sleepy during the day. You may also feel anxious and/or depressed.
Other signs of insomnia include lying awake for long periods before sleep finally comes, finding yourself awake most of the night with only short periods of sleep in between wakefulness, waking up too early, waking up feeling tired (not well-rested), and feeling like you haven’t really slept at all during the night.
If insomnia interferes with daily activities and if symptoms occur more frequently than a few times a week, you should consult a doctor or other health care provider.
What are the types of insomnia?
There actually are two distinct types of insomnia: primary and secondary.
Medications being taken or substances being used, such as alcohol can also cause secondary insomnia. Medications that can affect sleep temporarily include most anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers that treat high blood pressure, bronchodilators, non-prescription cold and allergy remedies that contain pseudoephedrine or other stimulants.
Insomnia can also be classified as acute or chronic, depending upon how frequently it occurs and how long in duration it lasts. A short-term bout of insomnia is considered acute, lasting from a single night to several weeks.
Insomnia of that occurs at least three nights per week and that lasts thirty days or more is considered chronic. It is estimated at the National Institutes of Health that approximately 70 million U.S. citizens have sleep problems and about half of that number may be counted as chronic cases.
Bouts of insomnia can also be intermittent, with periods of sleeplessness interspersed with periods in which a person has no sleep disturbance.
Besides the frustration of a restless night of tossing and turning, lack of sleep can be debilitating, dangerous, and bad for your health. It can seriously impact your immune system and increase your risk of colds and other flu symptoms, can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and put you at risk for heart disease.
It has even been linked to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. It certainly raises the odds of your incurring injury from accidents due to weakness or inattention.
What can cause temporary insomnia?
Temporary insomnia can be caused by stress or travel that disrupts your normal sleeping patterns (especially traveling through different time zones that causes jet lag). Also affecting your ability to fall or stay asleep are environmental conditions such as sleeping in a room that is noisy or too bright, too cold, or too hot.
Whatever the cause, it can be devastating in its effects. See more on insomnia and sleep deprivation.