Insomnia is sleeplessness (117), the inability to obtain an adequate amount or quality of sleep.
The difficulty can be in falling asleep, remaining asleep, or both.
People with insomnia do not feel refreshed when they wake up.
Insomnia is a common symptom affecting millions of people that may be caused by many conditions, diseases, or circumstances.
Insomnia is more common in women and older adults. People who are divorced, widowed, or separated are more likely to have the problem than those who are married, and it is more frequently reported by those with lower socioeconomic status.
Short-term, or transient, insomnia is a common occurrence and usually lasts only a few days. Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation in a person's life, such as an argument with a loved one, a brief medical illness, or jet lag. When the situation is resolved or the precipitating factor disappears, the condition goes away, usually without medical treatment (89).
Long-term, or chronic, insomnia lasts more than three weeks and increases the risk for injuries in the home, at the workplace, and while driving because of daytime sleepiness and decreased concentration.
Chronic insomnia can also lead to mood disorders like depression.
Chronic insomnia usually has different causes, such as medical condition or its treatment, including sleep apnoea; use of substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine; mood or anxiety disorders; stress, such as sadness caused by the loss of a loved one or a job; debt; disturbed sleep cycles caused by a change in work shift; sleep-disordered breathing, such as snoring; periodic jerky leg movements (nocturnal myoclonus), which happen just as the individual is falling asleep; repeated nightmares or panic attacks during sleep.
Psychophysiological insomnia is a result of excessive worrying about whether or not a person will be able to go to sleep, which creates so much anxiety that the individual's bedtime rituals and behaviour actually trigger insomnia. The more one worries about falling asleep, the harder it becomes (89).
Symptoms of insomnia
People who have insomnia do not start the day refreshed from a good night's sleep. They are tired. They may have difficulty falling asleep, and commonly lie in bed tossing and turning for hours. Or the individual may go to sleep without a problem but wakes in the early hours of the morning and is either unable to go back to sleep, or drifts into a restless unsatisfying sleep. This is a common symptom in the elderly and in those suffering from depression. Sometimes sleep patterns are reversed and the individual has difficulty staying awake during the day and takes frequent naps. The sleep at night is fitful and frequently interrupted (89).
Counselling and psychological treatment of insomnia includes alleviating any physical and emotional problems that are contributing to the condition and exploring changes in lifestyle that will improve the situation; changes in behaviour, in their daily routine.
Relaxation techniques are used for treatment of concomitant disorders, such as Mood disorder, Sleep apnoea, and other conditions (89).
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