Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My god! I can't sleep tonight.. everything's all wrong when I'm on bed.. it's not just today.. but I have this problem for quite some time already.. my sleep time I usually got is just around 3 hours.. even yesterday I slept at 4.30am and woke up at 7am today... so, instead of staying put on bed and still can't sleep, I'd better get up and make myself useful, like updating the blog.. hehehe!I think I have Insomnia.. or sleeping disorder.. I've made some research on what are the cause of the problem, what caused it and ways to cure it.. Definition of Insomnia
Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or waking too early in the morning. These result in the feeling that sleep is not restorative and often are associated with impaired function during the day. Description of Insomnia
Insomnia can be classified in terms of its duration: transient, short-term, and chronic. Transient and short-term insomnia are caused by similar factors, but short-term insomnia usually requires a greater disturbance.
Transient insomnia can be described as lasting from one night to a few weeks and is usually caused by events that alter your normal sleep pattern, such as traveling or sleeping in an unusual environment (e.g., a hotel).
Short-term insomnia lasts about two to three weeks and is usually attributed to emotional factors such as worry or stress.
Chronic insomnia occurs most nights and lasts a month or more. Causes and Risk Factors of Insomnia
Typically, transient or short-term insomnia are caused by similar factors, but the degree of disturbance is usually greater to experience short-term insomnia. These include:
- Stress-related factors – significant personal events, such as losing a job, marital problems, stress and generaly worrying.
- Uncomfortable sleeping environment (too much light or noise, uncomfortable temperature).
- Unusual sleeping environment (e.g., a hotel room).- Changes in the daily rhythm, such as a change in work shift or jet lag.
- Acute medical illness or their treatments.Chronic insomnia may be caused by one of the following:
- Chronic medical illnesses - Certain medical illness can interfere with sleep, especially disorders of the heart (congestive heart failure) and lungs (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Other important physical causes include heartburn, prostatism, menopause, diabetes, arthritis, hyperthyroidism and hypoglycemia.
- Sleep disordered breathing - Disorders of sleep that cause one to stop breathing while asleep may fragment sleep and cause frequent awakenings during the night. This can be seen rarely with obstructive sleep apnea, but is much more common with central sleep apnea.
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – RLS is an unpleasant tickling, burning, pricking or aching sensations in the legs that are generally only relieved with movement and tend to occur while relaxing in the evening hours. A similar and often overlapping disorder is periodic limb movement of sleep, which are the recurrent movements of the legs during sleep that may cause arousals from sleep.
- Psychophysiologic ("learned") insomnia - Many people go to bed worrying about insomnia because of previous episodes. This creates an anxiety about going to sleep, which usually leads to greater difficulty sleeping.
- Biological factors - As we age, sleep becomes lighter and more fragmented. Older people often struggle with frequent nighttime awakenings and the inability to sleep past the very early morning. Also, during our life spans, the internal biological "clock" that regulates sleep creeps slightly forward, compelling most older people to go to sleep earlier and to wake earlier.
- Lifestyle factors - Excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, and poor sleeping habits are often overlooked as cause of chronically disturbed sleep. Diagnosis of Insomnia
Surprisingly, a sleep study is not routinely recommended for those complaining of insomnia. The reason is that when a sleep study is performed in someone suffering from insomnia, it does not generally give any new information; it simply confirms that the patient is having trouble sleeping. The best way to find the cause for insomnia is by careful history taking. Assessment of recent onset insomnia should focus on acute personal and medical problems. In those reporting long-term sleep disturbances, evaluation should address the history as well as physical and mental status. Referral to a sleep laboratory might be appropriate if a sleep-related breathing disorder is suspected, insomnia has been present for more than six months and medical, psychiatric, and neurological causes have been excluded, or if insomnia has not responded to medical or behavioral treatment. Additionally, a sleep diary should be maintained. This diary would include bedtimes, estimates of the time needed to fall asleep, number of night awakenings, and total amount of time asleep. This helps in correct diagnosis as well as monitoring the treatment.Treatment of Insomnia
When people think of treatment for insomnia they tend to think of sleeping pills, but there are actually non-medical therapy that have not only been shown to be effective in improving insomnia, but are possibly even better in the long term than “sleeping pills”. Treatment without Medication
The non-medication treatment methods used to help insomnia are often focused at helping the patient “relearn” how to sleep. Some of these techniques are common-sense habits that go a long way in helping people feel sleepy at night. These include:
- Develop a regular sleeping schedule. Avoid daytime naps and stimulating activities just before bedtime.
- Avoid stimulating drugs, such as caffeine & nicotine, particularly before going to bed.
- Exercise during the day (but not in the late evening).
- Avoid alcohol- it is a leading cause of poor sleep.
- Minimize light and noise when trying to sleep..
- Maintain a comfortable bedroom temperature.
- Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. If hungry, eat a light carbohydrate snack.
- Take medications that may be stimulating, or those that may cause you to wake up to urinate long before bedtime.
- Increase exposure to sunlight in the morning, and avoid it later in the afternoon (5-6 PM). I don't know which type of insomnia is mine.. but if this is getting worse, I will have to see the doctor soon.

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