Facts About Insomnia

Introduction

Most people have difficulty sleeping at times and wondered what could be wrong with their bodies. Difficulty in sleeping in medical terms is called “insomnia”, studies around the world have shown that insomnia occurrence can be as low as 10% and high as 70%, (Bhaskar, Hemavathy, and Prasad, 2016).

What is insomnia and how can you know you have been suffering from it?
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or inability to stay asleep for long, provided you have the perfect chance to fall asleep/stay long sleeping. Insomnia could be acute or chronic, and this classification is usually based on the duration of sleep you are able to get. People suffering from insomnia usually experience symptoms including fatigue, lethargy or low energy, impaired concentration level, and most times having their mood disturbed. There is a need to consult your physician or visit a nearby hospital when you experience one or more of the aforementioned symptoms to know if you’re having insomnia.

Acute insomnia
This usually happens during a certain situation in one’s life and resolve without any medical treatment, situations such as grieving, anxiety resulting from the exam, or receiving of any shocking news can lead to disruption in sleep pattern.

Chronic insomnia
This usually occurs at least three times per week and for at least three (3) months. People experience chronic insomnia when: they change the environment, practice unhealthy sleeping patterns, a shift in work, certain medications, chronic insomnia results from medical conditions as well.

Treatment of insomnia
Inadequate sleep can affect one mentally and physically and leads to complications therefore, it is paramount that, treatment is initiated the moment your doctor diagnose you of insomnia. Complications of insomnia include reduced efficiency on a job, slow reaction to situations, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and high blood pressure.

Natural treatment
 Exercise reduces arousal level, anxiousness, and depression, which contribute to insomnia. Exercise increases body temperature and the drop in temperature after exercise may promote falling asleep, (National Sleep Foundation, 2019).
 Avoid caffeinated drinks late in the night, eating heavy or greasy food late, and eating of light food can help to fall asleep at night, (Perri, 2016).

Herbs
Some herbs have been associated with improvement in sleep, Hu et, al (2018) identified herbs used in the treatment of insomnia, and these include:
 Chamomile tea: the tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which helps to initiate sleep.
 Valerian root and lemon balm: these two help to increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA helps to increase sleepiness by the body by Smaller helping the body to achieve sleep within a short period of time.
 Others herbs that improve sleep include: lavender, passionflower, and magnolia bark

Drugs
Drugs approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include Benzodiazepines and non-Benzodiazepines drugs (Zopiclone, Zolpidem, and Zaleplon), sedating antidepressant drugs such as doxepin, and the orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant, (Lie et, al, 2015).

Further facts about insomnia include the discussion of the body chemicals responsible for good or bad sleep. First of all we should mention the human growth hormone that is secreted late in the night ensuring high quality sleep; owing to the decrease in the levels of this chemical specific to old age, insomnia cases are more frequent with elderly people. Chronic insomnia has also been associated with low levels of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. In what the stress hormones are concerned, there are all sorts of contradictory facts about insomnia as being influenced or not by their excessive secretion.

Sleep is absolutely necessary for the recovery of the organs and the proper functioning of the body; unfortunately, medical facts about insomnia prove that sleeping disorders prevent the proper function of the immune system. In other words, when you don’t get enough sleep, exhaustion, fatigue and the inability to fight diseases appears; therefore, people who suffer from chronic insomnia are more exposed to infections than those who have a normal sleep-wake cycle. The existent facts about insomnia prove that there is a connection between the high stress levels and the dysfunctions of the immune system triggered by sleeping disorders; solving one problem would definitely imply the improvement of the other.

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