7 Things You May Not Know About Insomnia

Things You May Not Know About Insomnia

Insomnia refers to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

It can be caused by stress, anxiety, changes in your sleep schedule, or other factors.

There are several things you may not know about insomnia that can help you better understand the condition and how to treat it.

Things You May Not Know About Insomnia

1. Insomnia is more common than you may think.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, insomnia affects about 70 million adults in the United States. (1)

That means that one in three people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at least a few nights each week.

In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that about 30 to 48  percent of American older adults suffer from insomnia. (2)

On the other hand, it is believed that 10 to 30 percent of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. (3)

2. Insomnia is more common in women than men.

Studies show that women are more likely than men to experience insomnia. (4)

This may be due to hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause or PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

Women are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, both of which can contribute to insomnia. (5, 6)

3. Insomnia can lead to other health problems.

If you don’t get enough sleep, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

Lack of sleep can cause or worsen conditions such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, and diabetes. (7)

4. Insomnia can be short-term or long-term.

Short-term insomnia (acute) lasts for a few days or weeks and is often caused by stress or changes in your sleep schedule.

Long-term insomnia (chronic insomnia) lasts for months or longer and can be caused by:

  • Medical conditions: such as heart failure, asthma, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and arthritis (8)
  • Mental health conditions: such as depression and anxiety
  • Medications: such as certain antidepressants, blood pressure medications, asthma, and chemotherapy drugs
  • Substances: such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol (9)

5. There are different types of insomnia.

The most common type of insomnia is difficulty falling asleep (initial insomnia).

Other types include waking up frequently during the night (middle insomnia) and waking up too early in the morning (terminal insomnia). (10)

6. Insomnia can be treated.

Yes, the good news is that insomnia can be treated.

There are a variety of treatment options available, including:

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)

This is a form of therapy that can help you change your thoughts and behaviors around sleep. CBT-I has been found to be effective in treating chronic insomnia. (11)

2. Medications

Several medications can be used to treat insomnia, including over-the-counter options like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and doxylamine succinate (Unisom).

There are also prescription medications that you can use, such as zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta).

These medications should only be used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. (9, 10)

3. Managing your stress

Stress can be a major trigger for insomnia.

Learning how to manage your stress can help you get better sleep.

There are a variety of stress management techniques, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, and journaling.

4. Making changes to your sleep habits

It’s good to be aware of your sleep habits and make sure they are conducive to good sleep.

Some things you can do to improve your sleep habits include:

  • Creating a regular sleep schedule
  • Sticking to a bedtime routine
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Exercising regularly
  • Creating a calm and relaxing sleep environment

7. You can help prevent insomnia.

Generally speaking, there are things you can do to help prevent insomnia, such as:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine

Most importantly, avoid large meals, working out, or using electronic devices in bed.

Summary

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can have negative effects on your physical and mental health.

There are different types of insomnia, and it can be caused by stress, medical conditions, medications, and substances.

Fortunately, insomnia can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, medications, stress management techniques, and changes to your sleep habits.

You can also help prevent insomnia by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine

Also read: How to Sleep Better