Insomnia: Symptom or Disorder? Insomnia can be defined as trouble falling asleep, remaining asleep, waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep, or a combination of these symptoms.
In order to be diagnosed with insomnia, sleep disturbances must occur at least three times each week despite the availability of enough sleep. It must also be interfering with your life and functioning, such as if you wake up feeling tired or fall asleep during the day.
Because the amount of sleep required varies from person to person, insomnia is not defined by how many hours you’ve slept.
It’s also natural to get less sleep as you become older. It’s not always a sign of insomnia if you’re sleeping less than you were when you were younger.
Insomnia is a fairly prevalent health problem. In Canada, about ten percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia, with another 20 percent to 25 percent reporting periodic insomnia.
Women, older persons, shift workers, and people with physical illnesses and mental health issues are more likely to experience it.
Insomnia: Symptom or Disorder?
Insomnia can cause the following symptoms:
- waking up too early in the morning and being unable to go back asleep not feeling rested or rejuvenated when you wake up despite receiving enough hours of sleep feeling weary and sluggish during the day feeling irritable or nervous headaches
- Having trouble concentrating or focusing during the day
Staying awake for multiple days in a row can cause hallucinations, although only a small percentage of persons with insomnia reach that point.
Insomnia, on the other hand, can lead to poor attention, forgetfulness, and exhaustion, which can have a bad impact on personal relationships, as well as work and school performance.
It can also increase the risk of accidents. People who suffer from sleeplessness are more likely to experience despair and anxiety.
Worrying about not getting enough sleep can often exacerbate insomnia. It is critical to seek help in order to avoid becoming trapped in this cycle.
Making a Probable Diagnosis
Your doctor will want to know your sleep pattern and how closely you follow the same schedule in order to diagnose insomnia. To learn more about your sleep pattern, your doctor may advise you to keep a sleep journal for a week or two.
You’ll also be questioned about any prescriptions you’re taking (including herbal products and over-the-counter meds), as well as your nicotine use and coffee and alcohol use.
Your doctor will also inquire about any stressors in your life that may be interfering with your sleep.
Other illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, or arthritis, may be contributing to or causing insomnia, according to a general medical examination and history. Blood tests may also be conducted to rule out any underlying medical issues.
Some individuals may be sent to a sleep problem clinic that offers insomnia diagnostic procedures such as overnight polysomnography.
You spend the night in the clinic, wired to electrodes that track your sleep stages from light (stage I) to deep sleep (stage IV), as well as REM (“dream”) sleep. Sleep apnea can also be detected using a polysomnography.
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