Definition of Insomnia
Insomnia is a condition that makes it hard for people either to fall asleep or find it difficult to stay asleep or both. Even if they fall asleep, they tend to wake up through the night.
Insomnia can leave one feeling tired on waking up and hampers one’s ability to function normally when awake. Sufferers experience low energy levels and mood swings that take a toll on overall quality of life.
A good night’s sleep results in seven to eight hours of sleep for adults. At least one in three adults experience insomnia at some point of their lives but the acute sufferers are those who have chronic insomnia.
Types of insomnia
Insomnia may not be traced due to any obvious reasons and this is termed primary insomnia. There are patients suffering from existing health conditions which need attention for alleviation of pain through medicines giving rise to secondary insomnia.
Causes of insomnia
There are various factors that cause insomnia. Some of the major ones are discussed below.
Stressful situations can keep the mind working overtime at night causing difficulty in sleeping. These may range from work or health related issues to family problems such as impending divorce. Unabated stress can lead to insomnia.
Anxiety disorders can be minor or major depending on the person’s lifestyle but they can disrupt sleep causing insomnia.
Chemical imbalances in the brain is a major cause of depression. Constantly worrying over things is also another cause. Depression can cause excessive sleep or cause problems entering into sleep. Insomnia can be an offshoot of other mental problems.
Use of medicines
Powerful prescription drugs that include heart and blood pressure medications, antidepressants, allergy medicines and even over the counter flu medications more often than not can obstruct sleep.
Coffee and Alcohol intake
Caffeine drinks like coffee and tea are stimulants that can make one stay awake at night especially if consumed late in the afternoon. Nicotine, a key ingredient of cigarettes is a stimulant that causes insomnia. Alcohol can help one fall asleep but prevents from attaining stage 3 and 4 deep sleep states.
Painful health conditions
The throbbing pain from injuries or medical disorders like arthritis often leads to lack of sleep.
Lack of physical activity
With the digital world locking people more to their seats and people spending long hours at work, most do not find the time for exercise and other physical activities. These can lead to poor sleeping habits.
Insomnia increases with old age
Sleeplessness increases with age with factors due to change in sleep patterns, change in activities and changes in health compounding the problem.
With increased age, the body clock or circadian rhythms tend to change with onset of sleep arising earlier in the evening accompanied by tendency to wake up early in the morning though the amount of sleep required by older people does not change from what younger compatriots may need.
Changes in health with debilitating conditions like arthritis, chronic back pain etc can cause insomnia in addition to poor sleeping habits due to stress and depression.
Magnetic therapy is a non-invasive alternative treatment that can help alleviate the sleep problems causing insomnia through repeated exposure to static magnetic fields or pulsed electromagnetic fields through use of magnetic therapy products that help in gaining a great night’s sleep.
Reducing the intensity of the sleep problems is in itself a big achievement and can gradually help the patient get into a better sleep pattern over time thus alleviating the effects of insomnia.
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