Insomnia - The 12 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 20): Insomnia – The 12 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Insomnia
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Lack of sleep is a familiar situation for countless Indians. A good night’s sleep is an essential component of every person’s overall health and well-being. After all, sleep is essential for the rejuvenation of our bodies and minds, replenishment of energy levels and maintenance and repair of the body’s muscles, organs, and other cells.

This is why sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, renal disease, hypertension, and so on. Despite the fact that sleep is critical, most of us neglect its importance.

Let’s explore some of the more frequently asked questions about insomnia and what treatment options exist.

 

FAQ #1: What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is frequently used to describe any type of sleeping difficulty. Insomnia can refer to a variety of symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep for a single night, difficulty staying asleep for a few weeks, or difficulty falling back to sleep for several months.

 

FAQ #2: What are the symptoms of insomnia?

 

    • Difficulty in falling asleep
    • Difficulty in staying asleep
    • Difficulty in falling back to sleep
    • Daytime impairment
    • Non-restorative or poor quality of sleep

 

FAQ #3: What are the types of insomnia?

Insomnia can either be intermittent or it may be an ongoing, long-lasting issue. Insomnia is categorized into two main types: 

 

    • Transient acute- tends to last less than three months
    • Chronic- tens to last for three months or longer

 

FAQ #4: How common is insomnia?

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep-related problems. Various studies worldwide have shown the prevalence of insomnia is as high as 33% in adults in India. This makes sleep a public health issue.

 

FAQ #5: How much sleep do the majority of individuals require?

Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, although the amount of sleep required to function optimally varies from person to person. Having said that, the quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Tossing and tossing and waking up frequently is just as hazardous for your health as not being able to sleep.

 

FAQ #6: What are the causes of insomnia?

Many environmental, physiological and psychological factors can contribute to the development of insomnia, including:

 

    • Life stressors including your career, erratic work hours, financial issues
    • Sedentary lifestyle 
    • Emotional disorders, like depression and/or anxiety
    • Chronic diseases like cancer
    • Chronic pain due to arthritis, fibromyalgia or other such conditions
    • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as acidity, heartburn or other issues
    • Hormonal fluctuations 
    • Certain medications 
    • Neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s disease)
    • Sleep disorders (like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome)

 

FAQ #7: Do women suffer from insomnia more than men?

It’s true that women are more likely than men to suffer from insomnia. Sleep can be disrupted by pregnancy and hormonal changes. Sleep can also be affected by hormonal changes such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause.

 

FAQ #8: What are the consequences of insomnia?

Not getting adequate sleep at the appropriate time can have severe and long-lasting consequences. These may include:

 

    • It can cause fatigue, dizziness and drowsiness. 
    • It can also have an impact on concentration and judgment 
    • You may become irritated, worried, or sad
    • Throughout the day, you may feel tired or low on energy
    • Have trouble concentrating or remembering things
    • It may result in reduced coordination
    • Sleep deprivation can lower libido in both men and women
    • Puffy eyes, dark circles and sallow skin can follow a sleepless night
    • It can lead to an increased risk of lifestyle diseases like heart disease and diabetes

 

FAQ #9: Is there a link between insomnia and depression?

Insomnia is not only a symptom of a mental disorder, it can also be a cause. Many studies have established that insomnia can have serious and deleterious effects on the brain, making psychiatric disorders more likely.

 

FAQ #10: How can insomnia be diagnosed?

The key information for the diagnosis of insomnia is a review of your medical history, medications and sleep history with your doctor. Your doctor may make an evaluation based on your sleep history.

He may also order a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions like thyroid problems or anaemia that can negatively impact sleep. Additionally, if your doctor suspects that your insomnia may be caused by sleep disorders like sleep apnea, you may be referred to a sleep specialist. 

 

FAQ #11: Can insomnia be treated?

Simple lifestyle changes in your daily habits can help prevent insomnia and promote sound sleep:

 

    • Consistent bedtime and wake time 
    • Regular physical activity 
    • Avoiding or limiting naps
    • Avoiding or limiting caffeine and alcohol
    • Quitting smoking
    • Avoiding large meals before bedtime
    • Making your bedroom comfortable for sleep 
    • Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as listening to soft music, reading, meditating etc.

 

FAQ #12: Which Ayurvedic herbs can be used to cure insomnia?

The top 7 wonder herbs of Ayurveda that are very effective for insomnia are:

 

    • Brahmi 
    • Lavender
    • Shankhapushpi 
    • Vacha 
    • Sarpagandha 
    • Ashwagandha 
    • Jatamansi

 

Final thoughts

In summary, a lack of sleep can have a plethora of negative consequences in your life. After a long and exhausting day, it is critical that you give your body the rest it requires and deserves! If you believe your sleep cycle is unstable, consult a doctor!  Also, taking regular health screenings can help you get a comprehensive understanding of your overall health and take preventive measures if something comes amiss. 

 

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