While most everyone may occasionally have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia in some people is frequent and can become a problematic sleep disorder. Along with difficulty getting to sleep and waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, symptoms can include waking up too early in the morning, feeling tired upon waking, problems with concentration, and irritability. Insomnia varies in how long it affects different people and how often. It can even come and go with periods when a patient has no symptoms at all. If Insomnia lasts just a short time it is termed acute, and if it is long lasting or periodic (at least three nights a week for an extended period of time) we term it chronic.
Primary vs. Secondary
Insomnia is classified into two types: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia refers to sleep problems that are not directly related any other health condition or problem and secondary insomnia refers to sleep problems related to another factor, like health conditions (arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, or heartburn), medications a patient may be taking, pain issues, or a alcohol use. Triggers of primary insomnia can include stress, mental or emotional issues, sickness, and environmental factors.
Acute insomnia may not require any treatment and often can be cured (and prevented) by practicing proper sleep habits. It is best to avoid using over-the-counter sleeping pills as they may have side effects and they also tend to lose their effectiveness over time. Your health care provider may prescribe sleeping pills for a limited time if insomnia is affecting your daytime performance and emotional state. For chronic insomnia, protocol includes first identifying and treating any underlying conditions that may be the cause of the insomnia. Your doctor may also suggest behavioral therapy to help you to change behaviors that may worsen insomnia (poor sleep habits) and to learn new patterns that promote better sleep. Techniques like reconditioning, relaxation exercises, and sleep restriction therapy have proven productive.
If you feel that you may have insomnia, please speak talk to your health care provider or make an appointment to speak with us. Our thorough evaluations include a physical exam, a medical history, a sleep history, and specialized tests only available at a proper sleep center. From our results we will create a comprehensive plan to address your insomnia. If you suffer from insomnia, give us a call…you have nothing to lose but consciousness!