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Sleep disorders – Insomnia

Sleep disorders – Insomnia

Insomnia can be a serious problem for millions of people. According to the National Institute for Sleep Disorders in the USA, more than a half of adults can face difficulties with their sleep some time a week. This is a particularly annoying state as sleep constitutes one of the basic needs in life.

Insomnia means that there is a problem in sleep’s initiation or maintenance. Some people face problems with the quality and/or the duration of their sleep for ages. Sleep disruption can constitute a psychiatric disorder by itself or more commonly a symptom of another mental health disorder such as an anxiety or a depressive one.

Signs of bad quality sleep are:

  • Falling asleep when you study, watch TV, or attend lectures
  • Feeling your own thoughts and reactions as being retarded
  • Hearing problems
  • Memory problems
  • Affected your critical capacity
  • Feeling of depression
  • Feelings of becoming easily irritated
  • Opening and closing often and painfully your eyes and having difficulties with your eye gazing

There are many causes for insomnia. Sometimes they can be obvious.

Acute or short-term insomnia lasts up to a month. Chronic insomnia usually has more complex causes. It can be of a secondary type meaning that other factors serve as its cause or it may be primary, which means that insomnia exists by itself without being caused by other mental or chronic conditions or from drugs

Acute insomnia can be caused by:

  • A stressful event.
  • Environmental parameters such as noise, heat, or cold.
  • Διαταραχή του κύκλου ύπνος / αφύπνιση εξαιτίας jetlag ή από τη φροντίδα σε νεογέννητο.
  • Disruption of sleep/wake cycle because of jet lag or the care to newborn.

Chronic insomnia can be caused by:

  • Asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or other chronic painful conditions and congestive heart failure.
  • Mental disorders such as: depression, anxiety, chronic stress.
  • Drugs for hypertension, decongestants, antidepressants.
  • Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs.
  • Sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, or the syndrome of “restless legs”.
  • Sleep/wake cycle disorder due to alternating working hours.
  • Bad sleeping habits.
  • Menopause.
  • Urinary incontinence.

Medications that can cause insomnia:

  • Decongestants (for the common cold).
  • Antihypertensives.
  • Hormones (thyroid and contraceptives).
  • Antiasthmatic drugs (inhaled and theophylline).
  • Maintain steady sleep schedule every day-including weekends
  • Do not consume caffeine at least 6 hours prior your falling asleep
  • Do not smoke because nicotine is stimulant
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid exercise a few hours before you fall asleep. Minimal exercise for instance a walk relaxes, on the contrary strenuous exercise stimulates
  • Adopt relaxation habits before falling asleep. A relaxation habit, when is repeated systematically,“warn” the brain and the body to relax. For instance, a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, reading a relaxing book can all help induce relaxing effects. Avoid watching TV, or surfing in the Internet.
    Make sure that your room has suitable temperature, is quiet and dark, has been adequately ventilated
  • Go to bed only for sleep. Do not work on your computer while staying on your bed.
  • Avoid overeating before you go to bed

If you encounter difficulties falling asleep, change the room. Come back to the bedroom only if you drowse.

“For the sick psyche, speech is the best treatment”

|Menandros 3rd Century BC|

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