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In the light of contemporary life in which we live, many people suffer difficulty in going to sleep or staying asleep, and complain of insomnia problem.

Insomnia

What is  Insomnia?

Is the difficulty to fall asleep or staying asleep, which affects the activity of the person during the day. Insomnia itself is not a disease, but it could be considered as a symptom of other medical conditions.

Classifications of Insomnia

Insomnia can be classified in to several types such as:

A) Duration where a person suffers from insomnia:

  • Transient insomnia: It may lasts a few nights, many people suffer from this type time to time because of the anxiety and stress of life.

  • Acute insomnia: When the period of difficulty in falling  asleep or staying asleep lasts to couple weeks.

  • Chronic insomnia: It may lasts months.

B) Quality of sleep:

  • Difficulty in falling asleep: The patient has a difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night, but when they fall sleep they continue sleeping naturally.

  • Frequent waking: They easily fall asleep, but complain of waking up several times during night.

  • Early waking up: Patients complain of waking up in the early hours of the day and not being able to go back to sleep.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia may be caused by different reasons. These causes may be divided into situational factors, environmental, medical or psychiatric conditions, physicians had mentioned some of these causes:

  • Psychological reasons such as anxiety, stress and depression and family problems and job pressures.

  • Health problems such as stomach acidity, respiratory disorders, physical pain like joint pain, headaches and stomach aches, back pain and fever.

  • Other sleep disorders such as snoring, obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome (RLS).

  • Excessive use of stimulants such as tea and coffee, smoking or alcohol use.

  • Noise, Some people can not sleep because of noise around them.

  • Acquired insomnia,  due to following wrong sleeping.

Treatment of Insomnia

Treatment methods vary depending on the factors causing   insomnia, in cases of insomnia due to health problems or psychological problems, insomnia disappear whenever the cause is treated. In cases of insomnia due to sleep disorders like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, the patient should visit a sleep specialist to get rid of these disorders and thus get rid of insomnia.

When the doctor can prescribe sleeping pills?

In special cases, after the physician evaluation and the exclusion of health and psychological factors, sleeping pills are prescribed for people who suffer from insomnia. The pills should be taken for a limited period and under direct medical supervision.

SLEEP HYGIENE

Paying attention to good sleep hygiene is the most important thing you can do to maintain good sleep.

 

DO:

  • Go to bed at the same time each day.

  • Get up from bed at the same time each day.

  • Get  regular exercise each day, preferably in the morning. There is good evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep. This includes stretching and aerobic exercise.

  • Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights, especially in the late afternoon.

  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom   comfortable.

  • Keep the bedroom quiet when sleeping.

  • Keep the bedroom dark enough to facilitate sleep.

  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

  • Take medications as directed. It is helpful to take prescribed sleeping pills 1 hour before bedtime, so they are causing drowsiness when you lie down, or 10 hours before getting up, to avoid daytime drowsiness.

  • Use a relaxation exercise just before going to sleep like muscle relaxation, imagery, massage, warm bath, etc.

  • Keep your feet and hands warm. Wear warm socks and/or mittens or gloves to bed.

DON’T!

  • Exercise just before going to bed.

  • Engage in stimulating activity just before bed, such as playing a competitive game, watching an exciting program on television or movie, or having an important discussion with a loved one.

  • Have caffeine in the evening (coffee, many teas, chocolate, sodas, etc.) .

  • Read or watch television in bed.

  • Use alcohol to help you sleep.

  • Go to bed too hungry or too full.

  • Take another person's sleeping pills.

  • Take over-the-counter sleeping pills, without your doctor's knowledge. Tolerance can develop rapidly with these medications. Diphenhydramine (an ingredient commonly found in over-the-counter sleep meds) can have serious side effects for elderly patients.

  • Take daytime naps.

  • Command yourself to go to sleep. This only makes your mind and body more alert.

If you lie in bed awake for more than 20-30 minutes, get up, go to a different room (or different part of the bedroom), participate in a quiet activity (e.g. non-excitable reading), and then return to bed when you feel sleepy. Do this as many times during the night as needed.

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