Daytime anxiety and impaired performance are hallmarks of those who suffer from sleep disorders (also known as sleep-wake disorders), which are characterised by issues with the timing, duration, and quality of sleep. Sleep-wake disturbances often co-occur with medical diseases and other mental health disorders such depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments. Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep-wake condition, although there are others. In addition to OSA and RLS, other sleep-wake disorders include parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.
Problems with getting to sleep and staying asleep are associated with both mental and physical health issues. The inability to get a good night’s sleep may be a sign of, or a contributor to, a variety of mental health issues.
Thirty percent of people have insomnia symptoms, and 6-10% fulfil the criteria for insomnia disorder.
Value of Restorative Naps
Sleep is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health and is therefore a fundamental human need. In a typical night, you’ll cycle between the two forms of sleep between three and five times:
When we dream, our eyes move rapidly (in a process known as rapid eye movement, or REM).
The deepest sleep occurs during the third phase of non-REM sleep.
When you go to bed is also crucial. As a general rule, your body operates on a 24-hour cycle (circadian rhythm) that signals to you when it’s time to sleep.
The amount of sleep we need shifts with age and differs from one individual to the next. Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is recommended for adults, says the National Sleep Foundation. In 2015, after thoroughly reviewing the relevant research, the Foundation updated its previous sleep guidelines.
Unfortunately, many of us are chronically sleep deprived. Almost a third of adults receive fewer than six hours of sleep nightly, while roughly the same percentage of high schoolers get eight hours or more of sleep on a typical school night.
In the United States, almost one-third of adults (35%) say they get “poor” or “just fair” quality sleep.
Chronic sleep problems affect more than 50 million Americans.
Sleep Deprivation and Its Comorbidities:
Sleep is essential for optimal brain health. There are several possible repercussions of insufficient sleep or poor-quality sleep. Tiredness, lack of enthusiasm, impatience, and inability to concentrate are the most noticeable issues. Your decision-making skills and your mental state may suffer. Depression and anxiety often coincide with sleep issues. Anxiety and despair may also contribute to sleeplessness.
Both little sleep and excessive sleep are associated with the development of several chronic diseases. Sleep disorders may serve as an early indicator of more serious medical and neurological conditions such as heart failure, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep condition and is characterised by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Approximately one-third of persons have mild insomnia, 10-20% experience significant impairment in daytime functioning, and 6-12% satisfy diagnostic criteria for insomnia disorder. Between 40 and 50 percent of those who suffer from sleeplessness also deal with a coexisting mental illness.
How to Recognize the Problem and What It Is
If you’re having trouble sleeping at least three nights a week for at least three months and it’s affecting your life significantly (at home, at work, or at school, for example), you may have insomnia disorder. Disturbed sleep is not always accompanied by emotional suffering or impaired daily performance.
Various sleep disorders (see Related Conditions below), pharmaceutical side effects, drug abuse, depression, and other medical and mental problems are ruled out before a diagnosis of insomnia is made. Insomnia is a common side effect of many drugs and health problems.
The patient’s history, a physical examination, a sleep diary, and clinical tests may all be part of a thorough evaluation for insomnia or another sleep disorder (a sleep study). The duration and quality of your sleep, as well as any underlying sleep disorders, may be determined through a sleep study and discussed with your doctor. If you want to talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns, keeping a sleep journal might be helpful. The times you go to bed, fall asleep, wake up, get up, take naps, exercise, eat, and drink alcohol and caffeine are all included.
Though sleep issues may begin at any time in life, they are more frequent in young adults. Insomnia may take many forms, and these forms typically change as people age. Most individuals under the age of 30 have trouble sleeping. Adults in the middle age and older range are disproportionately affected by difficulties maintaining sleep.
Insomnia may manifest itself via any of the following:
Episodic (with an episode of symptoms lasting one to three months) (with an episode of symptoms lasting one to three months)
Persistent (with symptoms lasting three months or more) (with symptoms lasting three months or more)
Recurrent (with two or more incidents within a year) (with two or more episodes within a year)
Insomnia may also have an external trigger, such as a major life change.
How to Get Help, Both Professionally and on Your Own
Resolving sleep issues often requires establishing and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. For advice on how to improve your sleep, see the Sleep Hygiene section. You should consult a doctor about your sleep issues if they continue or if they affect how you feel or what you can do throughout the day.
No matter what other mental or physical health issues a person may have, sleep disturbances need specialised treatment. Cognitive behaviour therapy and other behavioural approaches are often used Modvigil in tandem with sleep medicine Modalert to treat chronic insomnia. Insomnia may be treated with several drugs, some of which might help you fall asleep faster or remain asleep longer. Most of them have the potential to be addictive, thus they should be taken sparingly and only when prescribed by a medical professional. Sleeplessness is another common side effect of several antidepressants.
Antihistamines are included in most over-the-counter sleep aids because they are effective against allergies. Although they don’t have an addictive quality, their efficacy may decrease with continued use. They should be taken with care in the elderly since they may increase the risk of disorientation, impaired vision, urine retention, and falls.
When conventional methods of treating insomnia prove ineffective, many individuals seek to alternative health practises for relief. Some may be safe and effective, while the NIH finds that others either don’t work or provide safety issues due to a lack of data.
For those who have trouble falling asleep, trying some relaxation exercises before bed may assist.
The use of melatonin supplements has shown promise in treating insomnia in certain cases. The long-term safety has not been tested.
Despite the paucity of evidence supporting their efficacy, mind and body practises including yoga, acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness are widely accepted as safe.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that insomnia can be treated with herbs or nutritional supplements. L-tryptophan and kava are two that come to mind as potential safety hazards.
Please inform your doctor if you are using any non-mainstream drugs or supplements.