Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences poor sleep or has
trouble sleeping. It can be short-term, on and off, or chronic.
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia can be:
- Transient (short term) insomnia lasts from a single night to a few weeks.
- Intermittent (on and off) insomnia is short term, and happens from time to time.
- Chronic (on-going) insomnia occurs at least 3 nights a week over a month or more.
There are two types of Chronic insomnia: Primary Insomnia and Secondary Insomnia.
- Primary insomnia: Primary insomnia is trouble sleeping that is not related to any other health condition or problem.
- Secondary insomnia: Secondary insomnia can be caused by a medical condition (such as cancer, asthma, or arthritis), drugs, stress or a mental health problem (such as depression), or a poor sleep environment (such as too much light or noise, or a bed partner who snores).
Treatment for Insomnia
Since Short-term Insomnia is usually caused by a temporary issue in your life, such as a schedule change or stressful event, treatment is not necessary since your sleep should return to normal once the event has passed.
Treatment for chronic insomnia includes first treating any underlying conditions or health problems that are causing the insomnia. Next, you'll want to identify any routines or behaviors that are causing your insomnia, such as
drinking alcohol at night, a poor sleep environment, or engaging in stimulating behaviors such as playing video games or working out to close to bedtime. It can be very helpful to keep a sleep diary, writing down the things you do
throught the day, and especially close to bedtime, and the quality of sleep you get each night. If your insomnia continues, you'll need to discuss further options with your health care provider.
Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but can cause waking in the night and interfere with the quality of your sleep.
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day.
- Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise within 3-4 hours of going to bed. Exercise is stimulating and may make it hard to fall asleep.
- Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
- Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
- Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Take a bath, read a book, or listen to relaxing music.
- Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable. If it's too light, use a sleep mask. If it's too noisy, try earplugs. Make sure it's not too hot or too cold.
- Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
- If you can't fall asleep and don't feel tired, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
- If you lie awake worrying about all the things you need to do, make a to-do list before going to bed.