Do you have insomnia? Sometimes it seems sleep will never come!
The amount of sleep needed to feel alert during the day varies from person to person. After a night of inadequate rest, it is not unusual to feel sleepy the next day. Difficulty getting sufficient rest even though you had the opportunity to sleep is known as insomnia. Be assured, it is not unusual to have trouble sleeping at some point in your life. In the past year, one-third of American adults had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Insomnia has many causes and is often viewed as a symptom of another problem, much like a stomach ache. It normally lasts only a night or two, but can persist for weeks or even months.
Common symptoms or indicators of insomnia:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Repeated nightly awakenings
- Daytime fatigue
Three standard types of insomnia defined by doctors:
Transient insomnia is considered a few nights of poor sleep often brought on by stress, excitement or environmental changes. A person may have trouble sleeping the night before a big meeting or after a fight with a loved one. Temporary changes in sleep patterns are also caused by traveling across time zones and using certain medications.
Short-term insomnia constitutes two or three weeks of poor sleep that can be caused by ongoing stress at work or home, as well as medical and psychiatric illnesses. Alleviating the source of the episode usually returns sleep to its "normal" state.
Chronic insomnia is considered poor sleep that lasts two weeks or longer. It can be related to underlying medical, behavioral or psychiatric problems. Chronically poor sleep generally leads to decreased feelings of well-being. Recurring episodes are not uncommon.
Difficulty sleeping at night is only part of the problem. The daytime symptoms of insomnia include anxiety and significantly impaired concentration and memory. To minimize episodes of insomnia, sleep specialists recommend practicing good sleep hygiene.
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