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Sleepless Nights: Insomnia and You

by Carolyn Lee Nov 1, 2021

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If you’ve been having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia may be the cause. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people globally.  

It can be transient, acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Transient insomnia may last for a night or up to three nights. Meanwhile, acute insomnia is the most common form. It may last for days or weeks. Chronic insomnia can last for a month or years. Insomnia can make functioning normally a challenge. 

Acute Insomnia  

Common causes of acute insomnia include: 

1. Illness or medical conditions – chronic pain, lower back pain, sinus allergies, arthritis, etc. 

2. Stressful life events – loss of a job, loved one, divorce, etc. 

3. Physical or emotional discomfort. 

4. Light, noise or extreme temperatures. A change in work times – night to day shift or vice versa. 

5. Light, noise or extreme temperatures. A change in work times – night to day shift or vice versa. 

6. Jet lag. 

7. Some medications that are used to treat allergies, colds, depression, asthma or high blood pressure. 

Chronic Insomnia  

Chronic insomnia may be caused by discomfort or pain, chronic stress or anxiety and depression.   

The signs and symptoms of insomnia include:  

1. Depression or anxiety and feelings of irritability. 

2. Fatigue or sleepiness during the day. 

3. Difficulty concentrating or remembering. 

4. Waking up during the night and struggling to fall back asleep. 

5. Challenges with falling asleep. 

6. Feeling tired after a night’s sleep. 

People who are more susceptible to insomnia include women (hormonal changes, menopause or pregnancy), those who have a lot of stress, and people over 60.  

Other vulnerable individuals include those with a physical injury or mental disorders.  People who frequently travel through different time zones are also at risk. Chronic insomnia can lead to severe problems if it goes untreated.  

Insomnia can cause anxiety problems, depression or substance abuse. It may also negatively impact your performance at work or school. Added to this, it could also lead to high blood pressure or heart disease. 

How to Prevent Insomnia  

Preventative measures could minimise your risk for insomnia. Consider the following: 

1. Create and follow a relaxing, bedtime routine.  

2. Exercise regularly.  

3. Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine. 

4. Stay away from large meals or beverages before bedtime.  

5. Reduce or avoid naps. 

6. Inspect medications, as some have side effects that may cause insomnia. 

If you are struggling with insomnia, it may be wise to see a doctor. Your doctor will help to identify your problem and prescribe a course of treatment for you. 

We hope you found this overview of insomnia useful.  If you found this article helpful, our Guernsey directory health section is packed with others like it. Here’s to good health and a good night’s sleep!

Sources: WebMDMedical News TodayMayo ClinicNIHNCBI and Sleep Foundation