Medication Or Substance Use Or Abuse
Insomnia can be an unwanted side effect of many prescription or over-the-counter medications. Common cold and allergy medicines contain pseudoephedrine, which can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Antidepressants and medications to treat ADHD, high blood pressure or Parkinsons disease can also cause insomnia.
Using some drugs or drinking alcohol close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep or cause you to wake up during the night. Caffeine and other stimulants can prevent you from falling or staying asleep. When you stop taking some drugs or stop drinking alcohol there may be withdrawal symptoms that can include insomnia.
Tell your medical provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medications that you take. Tell her about your use of certain substances, like caffeine and alcohol. She will need to know if you use illicit drugs to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.
How To Diagnose Insomnia
If you think you may have insomnia,;ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, or do you wake up during the night and have trouble returning to sleep, or do you wake up earlier than desired?
- Do you have daytime symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, sleepiness or reduced energy?
- Do you give yourself enough time in bed to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night?
- Do you go to bed in a safe, dark and quiet environment that should allow you to sleep well?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then you may have insomnia.
If youve had insomnia for at least three months , consider booking an appointment with a sleep doctor at an accredited sleep center. If you have had insomnia for fewer than three months, you may have short-term insomnia. Try to follow good sleep hygiene, and if the problem does not go away in three months, talk to your medical provider.
A sleep doctor can diagnose insomnia and work with you to help identify its causes. She will work with the sleep team at an accredited sleep center to treat your insomnia.
Consider keeping a;sleep diary;for two weeks. By recording when you go to sleep and when you wake up, along with how long you were awake during the night, a sleep diary will help your doctor see your habits. This may give your doctor clues about what is causing your insomnia and what course of treatment to take.
Who Is At Risk For Insomnia
Insomnia is common. It affects women more often than men. You can get it at any age, but older adults are more likely to have it. You are also at higher risk of insomnia if you
- Have a lot of stress
- Are depressed or have other emotional distress, such as divorce or death of a spouse
- Have a lower income
- Have an inactive lifestyle
- Are African American; research shows that African Americans take longer to fall asleep, don’t sleep as well, and have more sleep-related breathing problems than whites.
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Do Complementary Or Alternative Sleep Aids Work
There isn’t enough scientific evidence to say whether most complementary and alternative sleep aids help treat insomnia.
- Certain relaxation techniques may be safe and effective in treating long-term insomnia. These techniques include using music, meditation, and yoga to relax the mind and body before sleeping.
- Some dietary supplements also claim to help people sleep. Manufacturers may label dietary supplements like melatonin as a “natural” product. Most of these products have not been proven to help people with insomnia. Melatonin may be useful for treating short-term insomnia for shift workers or people who have jet lag, but you should probably not take it long-term.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements like vitamins, minerals, and herbs in the same way it regulates medicines. Use this Understanding Drug-Supplement Interactions tool to learn how dietary supplements may interact with the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take.
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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Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discoveries to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including insomnia. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
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.
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Insomnia And Mental Health Disorders
Mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder frequently give rise to serious sleeping problems. It is estimated that 40% of people with insomnia have a mental health disorder.
These conditions can incite pervasive negative thoughts and mental hyperarousal that disturbs sleep. In addition, studies indicate that insomnia can exacerbate mood and anxiety disorders, making symptoms worse and even increasing the risk of suicide in people with depression.
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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Favorite Insomnia Advocacy Groups
Project Sleep is nonprofit organization dedicated to raising sleep disorder awareness and providing help to those with sleep disorders. The group awards scholarships to support students with sleep disorders and hosts events to raise help raise awareness about sleep disorders and the importance of sleep health. The group also disseminates information about how to support sleep disorders research.
How Does Insomnia Affect Women’s Health
Insomnia can cause you to feel tired, anxious, or irritable in the short term. Over time, lack of sleep may increase your risk for more serious problems, including:
- Health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure,
- Increased risk for falls, especially in older women
Women who have long-term insomnia may be more at risk than men with long-term insomnia for mood problems, heart disease and stroke, and obesity.
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Insomnia And Neurological Problems
Problems affecting the brain, including neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, have been found to be associated with an elevated risk of insomnia.
Neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimers dementia, can throw off a persons circadian rhythm and perception of daily cues that drive the sleep-wake cycle. Nighttime confusion can further worsen sleep quality.
Neurodevelopmental disorders like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can cause hyperarousal that makes it hard for people to get the sleep they need. Sleeping problems are common for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and may persist into adulthood.
What Are The Signs Of Insomnia
The main insomnia sign is trouble falling or staying asleep, which leads to lack of sleep. If you have insomnia, you may have all or some of these symptoms:
- Lie awake for a long time before you fall asleep
- Sleep for only short periods
- Be awake for much of the night
- Feel as if you havent slept at all
- Wake up too early
When you dont get sufficient sleep, you wake up feeling tired and that sluggishness stays with you the entire day. You have trouble focusing on your work. You may feel irritable, anxious and depressed.
Driving to and from work, you feel drowsy a dangerous situation that is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all serious car crash-related injuries. Injuries are more likely to occur when youre so sleepy. An older woman is at higher risk of falling if she is an insomniac.
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Favorite Products And Tech For People Who Have Trouble Sleeping
The Better Sleep Council is the consumer-education arm of the;International Sleep Products Association;. BSCs purpose is to provide education for consumers about sleep, health, and the products that are involved . BSC is run by bedding and sleep experts across the mattress and bedding industry. Find resources on the site about how to pick out a mattress, mattress upkeep, what else in your bedroom promotes a good nights sleep, and more.
Pzizz is a noise machine app that personalizes a mix of music optimized for sleep, voice narrations, and sound effects for each user. Your unique playlist is developed according to clinical sleep interventions and psychoacoustics research. The audio sequence you hear is intended to help quiet your mind and help you sleep.
This hypnosis and meditation app was created by the self-help audio author Glenn Harrold. The app features hypnotherapy and meditation recordings designed to alleviate stress and anxiety and help you get to sleep. The app was ranked as one of the top sleep apps by the;American Sleep Association.
With additional reporting by .
Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people who have insomnia. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing;Sleep Science and Sleep Disorders scientific discovery.;
Learn about some of the pioneering research contributions we have made over the years that have improved clinical care.
Another NHLBI-supported study, using fruit flies, showed that genes may explain sleep variations and may help to identify ways to treat insomnia. View To Sleep or Not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration for more information.;
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You Fall Asleep In Inappropriate Or Even Dangerous Situations
Sometimes the tiredness overcomes you and you fall asleep. Whether its at work, at school, in church or at your uncles birthday party. Falling asleep in these situations is inappropriate. But if you fall asleep driving a car it becomes really dangerous. Sleep-deprived driving is as dangerous as driving drunk. The worst is that when you have insomnia, you sometimes have microsleeps. These are short bursts of falling asleep where you lose control of all senses. Microsleep lasts only 1-3 seconds, but it is one of the main causes of accidents. See it that way: If you drive drunk, you can still react, but when you are tired and you fall into microsleep, you lost all control. Youre like a missile on the street.
Falling asleep in inappropriate situations is one main sign of insomnia.
Insomnia And Irregular Sleep Schedules
In an ideal world, the bodys internal clock, known as its circadian rhythm, closely follows the daily pattern of day and night. In reality, many people have sleep schedules that cause misalignment of their circadian rhythm.
Two well-known examples are jet lag and shift work. Jet lag disturbs sleep because a persons body cant adjust to a rapid change in time zone. Shift work requires a person to work through the night and sleep during the day. Both can give rise to a disrupted circadian rhythm and insomnia.
In some people, circadian rhythms can be shifted forward or backward without a clear cause, resulting in persistent difficulties in sleep timing and overall sleep quality.
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Signs You Might Have Insomnia
Do you notice that even though you think you had a good night of sleep, you wake up feeling like you didnt sleep at all? Or maybe it takes you over an hour to fall asleep. If so, you may be experiencing some symptoms of insomnia.
Insomnia, defined by the National Sleep Foundation as the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep even when you have the chance to do so, is a common sleep disorder that about 40 million Americans experience annually.
There are two different types of insomnia: acute, which can come from poor sleep health or habits, and chronic, which may be due to pre-existing medical conditions.
The National Sleep Foundation states that insomnia can vary in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. Some people can experience it temporarily due to how stress affects your body;or traumatic events. But others may experience it for months.
Here are some signs to look out for if you think youre suffering from insomnia.
Sometimes You Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night
If you have insomnia, another sign is that you wake up in the middle of the night. Or sometimes you wake up 1 or 2 hours too early in the morning. This sign also goes hand in hand with other signs, for example not having a solid sleep schedule. Waking up in the middle of the night is also a sign of bad sleep quality and shallow sleep.
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Insomnia As A Disorder Is Typically Characterised As:
- Difficulty falling asleep, remaining asleep or achieving sleep that is restorative.
- Sleep difficulty that occurs despite having adequate opportunity to sleep.
- Sleep difficulty that results in related daytime function impairments and obvious distress.
- Sleep disturbances that take place at least 3 times a week over a period of no shorter than a month.
In short, a disorder relates to a state or condition whereby a persons sleep related difficulties correlate with abnormal and negative consequences . ;
What Are Causes Of Insomnia In The Elderly
Insomnia occurs in 30-48% of older adults, who often have particular struggles with sleep maintenance.
As in people of a younger age, stress, physical ailments, mental health problems, and poor sleep habits can cause insomnia in the elderly. However, elderly people are often more sensitive to these causes because of higher levels of chronic health conditions, social isolation, and an increased use of multiple prescription drugs that may affect sleep.
Research indicates that people over age 60 have less sleep efficiency. They spend less time in deep sleep and REM sleep, which makes it easier for their sleep to be disturbed. A decrease in daylight exposure and reduced environmental cues for sleep and wakefulness can affect circadian rhythm, especially for elderly people in managed care settings.
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Why Do More Women Than Men Have Insomnia
Women may be more likely to have insomnia than men because women experience unique hormonal changes that can cause insomnia symptoms. These include hormonal changes during:
- The , especially in the days leading up to their period when many women report problems going to sleep and staying asleep. This is especially common in women who have , a more severe type of premenstrual syndrome .
- , especially in the third trimester, when women may wake up often because of discomfort, leg cramps, or needing to use the bathroom.
- , when hot flashes and night sweats can disturb sleep.
Also, some health problems that can cause are more common in women than in men. These include:
- and . People with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression, and 17 times more likely to have anxiety. Researchers aren’t sure if mental health conditions lead to insomnia or if insomnia leads to mental health conditions. But not getting enough sleep may make mental health conditions worse.
- . The pain experienced with fibromyalgia can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What Are The Risk Factors For Insomnia
Insomnia occurs more often in women than in men. Pregnancy and hormonal shifts can disturb sleep. Other hormonal changes, such as premenstrual syndrome or menopause, can also can affect sleep. Insomnia becomes more common over the age of 60. Older people may be less likely to sleep soundly because of bodily changes related to aging and because they may have medical conditions or take medications that disturb sleep.
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