What Happens To The Brain During Insomnia
Insomnia and Your Brain Some of the effects that insomnia can have on the brain include the inability to concentrate, stifled creativity, short- and long-term memory loss, and mood swings. Other risks of a sleep-deprived brain are hallucinations, mania, impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.
Causes Of Insomnia: Figuring Out Why You Cant Sleep
In order to properly treat and cure your insomnia, you need to become a sleep detective. Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression cause half of all insomnia cases. But your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health may also play a role. Try to identify all possible causes of your insomnia. Once you figure out the root cause, you can tailor treatment accordingly.
How Is Insomnia Diagnosed
There is no specific test to diagnose insomnia. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions to learn more about your sleep problems and symptoms. The key information for the diagnosis of insomnia is reviewing your sleep history with your doctor. Your provider will also review your medical history and medications you are taking to see if they may be affecting your ability to sleep. You may also:
- Get a blood test: Your doctor may want you do a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems or low iron levels that can negatively impact sleep.
- Keep a sleep diary: You may be asked to write down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks This information can help your provider identify patterns or behaviors that interfere with rest.
- Complete a sleep study:Sleep studies are not necessary for diagnosing insomnia. If your doctor has concerns that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred. You may go to a sleep disorders center or do the study at home.
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Dietary Supplements For Insomnia
There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How Are Insomnia And Diabetes Connected
Sleep disorders and diabetes are closely linked: a study in the September 2018 issue of the journal Acta Diabetologica found that sleep disturbances and frequent nocturnal awakenings are associated with worsening self-care in adults with type 2 diabetes. Insomnia and sleep disruptions in people with type 2 diabetes can result from:
Having a sleep disorder raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Thats because frequent awakening during the night, irregular sleep, and lack of sleep increase insulin resistance, leading to high blood sugars. One explanation is that a lack of sleep affects the balance of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, leading to increased hunger and overeating, both raising blood sugars and increasing the risk of obesity.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia
CBT-i is considered a first-line treatment for insomnia because it does not carry the health risks associated with sleep medication. In most cases, CBT-i is provided by a licensed psychologist who has received training for this type of treatment. CBT-i focuses on pinpointing the anxieties people with insomnia often have about sleep, and then replacing these anxieties with healthier beliefs and attitudes. Additionally, this type of therapy may one or more of the following components:
The number of qualified behavioral sleep medicine therapists in the U.S. is fairly limited. You can locate CBT-i providers and verify their credentials through certain professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, American Board of Sleep Medicine, Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Insomnia
If you have insomnia, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Am I taking any medications keeping me awake?
- What changes can I make to sleep better?
- How does cognitive behavioral therapy improve sleep?
- How do I find a therapist?
- Could I have other sleep disorders like sleep apnea?
If you’re suffering from insomnia, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for help. They may offer tips for managing issues that interfere with your sleep. Many people with insomnia rest better after changing their diet, lifestyle and nighttime routines. Or they may also recommend medications or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/15/2020.
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Treatment For Severe Cases Of Insomnia
For severe cases you should seek help through your doctor, they may refer you to an Accredited Sleep Center run by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The results page will show you the sleep center, the sleep disorder that they test for or treat, their address and contact information, and the distance from the location that you input.
Alternatively, the AASM has now set up a dedicated telemedicine platform for accredited sleep centers that may be able to help you online.
The Body’s Internal Clock
The sleep-wake cycle is controlled by the body’s internal clock. Many other bodily functions also wax and wane cyclically in response to the 24-hour circadian rhythm. For example, normal body temperature is lowest at about 5 a.m., when it averages 97° F, and highest at about 5 p.m., when it averages 99.4° F. Similarly, sodium excretion and urine output are normally higher during the day than at night. Hormone levels also fluctuate cortisol secretion is highest during the morning. Testosterone production peaks in the morning, growth hormone at night. Melatonin, the “dark hormone,” is produced by the brain’s pineal gland during the night.
The daily cycles of light and darkness help set the body’s internal clock. Disturbances in the normal coordination of light and darkness with wakefulness and sleep account for the temporary sleep disturbance of jet lag or the chronic disorders experienced by many shift workers. Travel is a common cause of disturbed sleep today, but similar disturbances originated long before the jet age Robert Burton got it right way back in 1628 when he said, “Our body is like a clock, if one wheel is amiss, all the rest are disordered… with such admirable art and harmony is a man composed.”
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What Are Other Causes Of Insomnia
- Common stimulants associated with poor sleep include caffeine and nicotine. You should consider not only restricting caffeine and nicotine use in the hours immediately before bedtime but also limiting your total daily intake.
- People often use alcohol to help induce sleep, as a nightcap. However, it is a poor choice. Alcohol is associated with sleep disruption and creates a sense of non-refreshed sleep in the morning.
- A disruptive bed partner with loud snoring or periodic leg movements also may impair your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
How Much Sleep Do I Need
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. You know youre getting enough sleep if you dont feel sleepy during the day. The amount of sleep you need stays about the same throughout adulthood. However, sleep patterns may change as you age, and become less deep and restful. That is why older people may sleep less at night and take naps during the day.
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If You Fall Asleep Now You Can Still Get X Hours Of Sleep
Why You Shouldn’t Say This: There is already a countdown clock going on in the head of every insomniac. As the sleepless hours pass, our countdown clock shows us how many hours of sleep we could still get â and reminds us that six hours is still enough to be sorta competent tomorrow, five hours means that you’ll probably spill coffee on your shirt and not notice, and four hours of sleep ensures that stringing together a coherent sentence will probably be a struggle. We know this already.
Reminding an insomniac about how many hours they could still get may seem like it’ll remind them that not all hope is lost â but it can very likely have the opposite effect, and simply remind them that their internal freak-out clock is ticking away.
What To Say Instead: “No matter what happens tonight, you’re going to be okay.”
When you’re up at 4 a.m., and have spent the past five hours coming up with a dark, dystopian vision of the future where you never sleep ever again, simple, supportive words like this can be the best thing you can hear.
Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia
Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when it is tied to an obviously temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.
Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinsons disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine , diuretics, and slimming pills.
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How Can Cannabis Treat Insomnia
Contributor: Franklin Edwards
Sleep is a critical part of our health, and many people have insomnia. But did you know that cannabis can help? Its true! Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat sleep issues, and modern research supports this practice.
Cannabis and sleep go hand in hand. The natural compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, interact with the Endocannabinoid System , responsible for regulating sleep. Certain strains of cannabis can help you get to sleep faster and more profound than normal.
Its essential to learn about dosing and the risks of side effects like paranoia. If you decide cannabis is right for you, there are a few different ways to consume it so you can determine which method works best with your body and lifestyle. Read on to learn about how cannabis can help you sleep better.
What Are The Symptoms Of Insomnia
Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and/or an inability to fall back asleep after waking up too early in the morning. Since many people experience these symptoms at least occasionally, in order to qualify for a diagnosis of persistent or chronic insomnia, they must persist for a period of 3 months and occur at least 3 times a week.
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What Is The Best Medication For Severe Insomnia
There are several pharmacological options available to treat severe insomnia. These include benzodiazepines , non-benzodiazepines , clonidine, certain antidepressants, and more. All have been shown to be effective in certain situations, but may come with side effects or a risk of dependence. In most cases, medications are only recommended for short-term use a doctor may prescribe them for longer periods depending on a patients specific circumstances.
Home Remedies For Short
Reducing anxiety and sticking to a daynight routine can improve sleep quality. Suggestions include:
- Dont nap during the day.
- Cut down on smoking and drinking.
- Avoid tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks before bed.
- Dont exercise strenuously before bedtime.
- Do something to relax, such as meditate or have a warm bath.
- Only go to bed if you feel sleepy.
- Go to bed later.
- Stop reading, worrying or watching television in bed and limit your activities in the bedroom to sleeping and sex.
- If you cant sleep, get up, go to another room and do something else until you feel sleepy again.
- Get up at the same time every morning regardless of how much sleep you have had.
- Avoid judging your sleep on a day-to-day basis.
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Dont Sleep On These Insomnia Symptoms
If youre having a night when youre nervous, angry, upset or stressed, sleep may not come easily. You may notice that you lie awake in bed for a while or wake up periodically throughout the night.
A lack of sleep has significant effects on your daily life, too. It can make you more irritable, less coordinated and more anxious. Plus, it can put you at a greater risk for accidents and injuries.
If you notice that youre having trouble sleeping, dont write it off, said Michael C. Marino, D.O., medical director of Geisinger Sleep Labs. Sleep deprivation can cause a sleep debt that only gets worse with each passing day. This can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes, so its important to talk to your doctor if you have consistent sleep problems.
Is it insomnia?Insomnia is the inability to fall and stay asleep, even when you should otherwise be able to do so. Its estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia each year. Insomnia can either be chronic or acute, depending on its duration and frequency. It can cause fatigue, mood disturbances, low energy levels and difficulty concentrating.
Ways to get rid of insomniaFor most people, the best ways to beat insomnia are to decrease caffeine intake, stop drinking alcohol, reduce stress levels, get new bedding and limit the use of electronics before bed.
Dr. Michael Marino, DO, is a sleep medicine specialist in Bloomsburg. To schedule an appointment, please call 800-275-6401.
Insomnia Physical Illness And Pain
Health complications related to Type II diabetes can be part of an underlying cause of insomnia. Pain from peripheral neuropathy, more frequent need for hydration and urination, and rapid blood sugar changes can interrupt sleep. There is also a correlation between diabetes and other health conditions that are known to interfere with sleep including obstructive sleep apnea and depression.
Other types of physical illness, including those affecting the respiratory or nervous system, may pose challenges to sleep that can culminate in short-term or chronic insomnia.
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Sporadic Fatal Insomnia
Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease accounts for 85% of human prion diseases whereas sporadic fatal insomnia accounts for 1% to 2%. Patients with sFI share phenotypic similarities with patients who have the genetic prion disease fatal familial insomnia7 but lack a mutation at codon 178 of the prion protein gene.
Can I Take An Over
OTC medicines, or sleep aids, may help some people with insomnia symptoms, but they are not meant for regular or long-term use. Many OTC sleep medicines contain that are usually used to treat allergies.
If you decide to use an OTC sleep medicine:
- Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about any warnings and potential side effects of the medicine.
- Take the medicine at the time of day your doctor tells you to.
- Do not drive or do other activities that require you to be alert and sober.
- Take only the amount of medicine suggested by your doctor.
- Tell your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about all other medicines you take, both over-the-counter and prescription.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Do not use drugs that your doctor has not prescribed to you.
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Not Getting Enough Sleep Is Really Bad For Your Health
Why You Shouldn’t Say This: There’s a lot of confusion out there about the true definition of insomnia. Some people think that saying that you’re an insomniac simply means that you don’t like going to be early, or that you stay up late playing because you’re an irresponsible goof.
These people are trying to give you a “reality check” by reminding you of the health risks of not sleeping enough â which might be a good idea, if you actually were cutting corners on your sleep on purpose. But for someone who is helplessly struggling with insomnia, this is just a reminder that there are also scary long-term consequences to the terrifying problem that they can’t seem to get a handle on.
What To Say Instead: “I’m sorry you’re sleeping badly.”
Remember how your parents told you if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all? This line of thinking definitely applies to a friend struggling with an illness â even if it’s an illness that you don’t “believe” is real, like insomnia or certain food allergies. If you can’t think of anything helpful or supportive to say, make like a tree and offer some quiet support.
Treating Insomnia With A Better Sleep Environment And Routine
Two powerful weapons in the fight against insomnia are a quiet, comfortable bedroom and a relaxing bedtime routine. Both can make a big difference in improving the quality of your sleep.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Noise, light, a bedroom thats too hot or cold, or an uncomfortable mattress or pillow can all interfere with sleep. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to mask outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide the support you need to sleep comfortably.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends. Get up at your usual time in the morning even if youre tired. This will help you get back in a regular sleep rhythm.
Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. Electronic screens emit a blue light that disrupts your bodys production of melatonin and combats sleepiness. So instead of watching TV or spending time on your phone, tablet, or computer, choose another relaxing activity, such as reading a book or listening to soft music.
Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime. This includes checking messages on social media, big discussions or arguments with your spouse or family, or catching up on work. Postpone these things until the morning.
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