Insomnia is a very common disorder as global statistics show. They indicate that it occurs more frequently in people of the male gender, however there are no restrictions regarding age. In recent years there has been an increase in cases of older adults, and also in part of the population whose activities and work environment are extreme.

A pattern with similarities is identified, however it is important to note that each patient reacts and experiences differently . The characteristics of this condition that allow it to be identified are described below. It will also provide some advice for its treatment.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as a common type of disorder characterized by changing sleep and rest cycles . This is a condition that causes difficulties in getting to sleep or falling asleep. Those who suffer from it as a result suffer from fatigue, due to poor or poor sleep. It can affect people in different ways, therefore different types can be identified according to their characteristics.

Acute or short-term insomnia is the most common. It occurs regularly or in cycles depending on certain external factors. Some of the most common causes are stress and experiencing traumatic events. Patients on average can last a few days, and rarely weeks, without being able to sleep adequately.

Instead, chronic insomnia , as the name implies, is the one that will last for months. Those who suffer from this condition suffer even more from the side effects. This is a problem that leads to other problems, of considerable gravity for physical and mental health. Its origin can be found in the consumption of drugs and substances such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.

With some exceptions, there are cases where the origin cannot be well identified or understood. This means that they are patients whose main problem is chronic insomnia, but it can be aggravated by a long period of stress and emotional distress . Statistically, it is observed that it is very common in people who work long shifts and under extreme conditions.

The main consequence of insomnia is daytime sleepiness , this is characterized by keeping the patient in a confused mental state. This means that the person has a noticeable lack of energy. The patient will not be able to concentrate on such simple tasks as reading or speaking. Likewise, they will present deficiencies in their ability to learn and retain information.

The memory will present “gaps” in its content, it will be difficult for them to remember important information. This problem also translates into physical clumsiness , it will be very difficult to perform certain manual skills such as writing or even walking. Therefore, it is not recommended that patients drive because they can cause car accidents for example.

What are the symptoms?

Insomnia symptoms have a common pattern, the main characteristic of which is not being able to fall asleep. Even if the patient spends several hours or days active, and even when he feels physical and mental fatigue ; you will not be able to sleep under any circumstances. That is why you may require the help of prescription drugs to sleep, or substances such as alcohol and drugs with numbing effects.

When this condition begins to develop, it is usual for the patient to first stay awake for a long period of time before falling asleep. It is a change in the mental and behavioral pattern that occurs gradually. Eventually the symptoms get worse , so that the periods of time without rest will increase.

The following are the most common symptoms, which describe the behavior of a person with insomnia. They are as follows:

  • Inability to fall asleep in a short period of time. Instead, you will have to wait for more minutes or hours until you are able to enter the first phase of sleep.
  • The patient will only be able to sleep for short periods of time. This means that you will only sleep about 2 to 4 hours on average each day.
  • At the beginning of this condition, it is common for the patient to stay awake for much of the night . Also, some patients may stay awake for more than 24 continuous hours, this occurs in the most severe cases.
  • The patient wakes up too early daily . Likewise, sleeplessness is very common, you can only sleep after waiting and staying in bed for an average of one or two hours.
  • Even if I managed to get some sleep, the patient will always feel fatigued . It is normal for you to feel physical pain and difficulty concentrating in any activity.
  • The abrupt changes in mood will cause friction with the people around them . The patient is unable to maintain an active mindset, he will not be able to perform well in his daily tasks.

What are your causes? 

The causes and factors in common in the registered cases are described below. They are as follows:

  • Stress is a common factor in the personal life and daily life of the patient. It serves as a trigger for multiple conditions such as insomnia, in the long term it causes a significant wear and tear on the mental and physical health of the patient.
  • It is common to suffer from financial problems . Consequently, it is lived with constant worry; which prevents being able to maintain peace of mind and mental stability, affecting the quality of restorative sleep.
  • Emotional problems and depression are just some of the factors that can play a role. Also, personal problems such as the death of a close person or a divorce; are some examples of negative and stressful situations that influence.
  • Working in a highly stressful activity that also has to be done with frequent changes in your schedule. The most common example is those jobs that run for several consecutive hours during the night shift.
  • Make constant trips for several hours and long distances . The lack of stability and the impossibility of being in contact with close people. These are factors that contribute to the patient feeling tired and worried.
  • Maintaining a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the eventual development of insomnia. Any type of lifestyle that is unhealthy is generally regarded as a direct cause.

In some particular cases it is observed that the appearance of some type of respiratory problem can be related to sleep. This is especially relevant, due to the concern generated by presenting some complication when asleep and unconscious. For example, sleep apnea causes constant interruptions preventing full rest.

How to combat insomnia? 

The first step to treat insomnia is to make a diagnosis, it will indicate what problems should be addressed. For this, the treating doctor will carry out a medical evaluation taking into account the clinical history. You will also ask the corresponding questions that will allow you to obtain details about your sleeping habits .

Also a physical examination will allow to rule out the suffering of other medical problems that may influence the development of insomnia. To be more specific, a sleep study is currently used, together various techniques and tools are applied that can measure the quality of sleep. During the process, how the body responds is evaluated.

Regarding the treatments in the first instance, it is recommended that the patient make changes in their lifestyle . This means that you will need to improve your sleeping habits which will alleviate the symptoms by being able to fall asleep and stay asleep for several hours. Examples of this type are stopping activities such as watching television or working late into the night.

This part of the treatment is very important because external elements that are participants in the patient’s personal life can have a negative influence. That is, if the individual is constantly under intense stress , following an unhealthy diet, having little social contact and even work problems. These are all just a few examples of how lifestyle can cause sleep changes.

The type of therapy that is best suited is cognitive behavioral therapy . This is a resource that can be tailored to the needs of the patient. It implements different techniques whose purpose is to help alleviate the anxiety caused by insomnia. During its implementation, it will be possible to identify which are the mental and behavioral patterns that can also influence.

When it comes to chronic insomnia , medications are used that can relieve symptoms and restore a regular schedule. These should be used in patients who are under strict medical supervision, are of delicate use and are marketed only with a prescription.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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