Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Insomnia most often worries older people. This is a serious problem that significantly reduces the quality of human life. The scientific name for insomnia is insomnia. It is recognized by official medicine as a disease. The causes of insomnia can be very diverse. Sometimes it is very difficult to install them. Insomnia therapy is long-term and does not always give a positive result. You should not take drugs to improve the quality of sleep on your own, as they are addictive, and it will be problematic to refuse them in the future.
- What is insomnia?
- Insomnia symptoms
- Insomnia causes
- What to do if you suffer from insomnia?
- 3 recommendations of an expert sleep doctor
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that almost everyone has probably encountered in life. This includes a lack of sleep, an inability or inability to get adequate sleep, trouble falling asleep, short sleep times, or persistent early awakenings with an inability to fall asleep again.
Insomnia manifests itself in different ways. Some people find it difficult to fall asleep, while others find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Some patients complain of frequent waking up in the middle of the night.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
Difficulty falling asleep. In this case, a person may not experience any disorders in the nervous sphere. The conditions for sleeping are favorable: the bed is comfortable, the room is ventilated, but you can't even doze off. A person is looking for a comfortable position, but cannot find it, he becomes hot and cold. Sometimes he cannot be distracted from thinking about various matters. This leads to the fact that sleep does not occur.
Waking up after a short sleep. An inexplicable fear or nightmare makes you wake up. The man tries to doze off again, but he fails. Therefore, in the morning he feels overwhelmed and tired.
Short night sleep. Sometimes it happens that after sleeping for several hours, a person wakes up and can no longer fall asleep. Sleep duration of 3-4 hours does not allow you to fully rest.
All these symptoms first bother a person from time to time, and then appear more and more often. You need to be wary when signs of insomnia occur every other day for a month.
Symptoms of neurological disorders can be as follows:
A person cannot cope with insomnia on their own. He suffers from discomfort at night. At the same time, during the day, he painfully wants to lie down and fall asleep, activity decreases.
A person's thought processes suffer. It is difficult for him to concentrate on work or study, attention and memory deteriorate.
The person develops depression. Although sometimes it becomes the root cause of insomnia.
Experts do not recommend starting taking medications at the first sign of insomnia. This will lead to the fact that in the future it will not be possible to fall asleep without their help, and the dose will have to be increased all the time.
Insomnia is a disease, which means you need to look for the causes of its occurrence. Only by eliminating them, you can get rid of the problem.
Sleep is controlled by the central nervous system.
Therefore, the causes of insomnia can be hidden in such disorders as:
- Stress. The more susceptible a person is, the more likely it is that nervous tension will adversely affect falling asleep.
- Uncomfortable conditions for falling asleep. Insomnia can be caused by extraneous noise in the room, bright light in the room, heat or cold. Sometimes insomnia develops when the usual environment changes.
- Changes in the usual way of life. An example is rebuilding a work or school schedule.
- Climate change or moving to a country with a different time zone. Adaptive mechanisms for each person are developed to a different degree.
- Taking drugs that have an exciting effect on the central nervous system.
- Overeating before bed. Not only a hearty dinner can affect the quality of sleep, but also the intake of alcoholic beverages, strong tea or coffee, chocolate, Coca-Cola.
- Watching TV before bed. If the show or movie was exciting, then the person may develop insomnia. A similar situation is observed in people who spend a long time at the computer, play games.
- Diseases of the thyroid gland with its hypo- and hyperfunction.
Pain. Any painful sensations will not allow you to fall asleep. The more intense they are, the more difficult it will be to fall asleep.
- Respiratory diseases. People with bronchial asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease often suffer from insomnia. Cough of any etiology negatively affects the quality of sleep.
- Diseases of the digestive system. Any discomfort disrupts sleep.
- Calf muscle cramps, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea are all causes of insomnia.
- Mental disorders. This can include depression, neurosis, anxiety.
- Neurological diseases: Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, spinal osteochondrosis.
- Cardiovascular pathologies: arrhythmia, heart attack or stroke, hypertension, heart defects.
- Alcohol abuse. Withdrawal symptoms are the cause of insomnia in all alcoholics. It is not possible to cope with the problem even with the help of taking strong medicines.
- Smoking. Smokers often suffer from poor sleep quality. Adherence to a bad habit makes them get up at night and reach for a cigarette. This further aggravates the existing problem.
- The age of the person. There are certain periods when people often have trouble sleeping. This happens in children, in adolescents, in women during menopause, in the elderly. Sometimes pregnancy and childbirth can provoke insomnia.
What to do if you suffer from insomnia?
If you have insomnia, you should not immediately resort to taking medications. Such drugs exist, but a doctor must prescribe them.
First you need to try to cope with the problem in other ways:
- Adhere to the regime of work and rest. You need to go to bed at the same time. The body will get used to the established rhythm and sleep problems may resolve on their own.
- Refuse to eat before bedtime.
- Do not consume alcohol and stimulating soft drinks.
- Quit smoking.
- Do not go to bed on an empty stomach. Before going to bed, you can drink a glass of kefir or warm milk. If you want to eat something, then preference should be given to light snacks that will not contain hot sauces and seasonings.
- Walking before bed. Relaxing massage and gymnastics also help you fall asleep faster. You can take a warm bath with herbal decoctions.
- Refusal of mental work before bed. It must be completed no later than 2 hours before the night's rest.
- Refusal to read books and watch TV before bed. You should not play computer games or talk on the phone.
Create comfortable sleeping conditions for yourself. The room needs to be ventilated. Light and noise should not interfere with falling asleep.
If all these conditions have been met, and sleep does not come, then after 30 minutes you need to get out of bed and walk around. You can listen to pleasant music.
Medicines should be directed at the cause of insomnia. If they do not help to cope with the violation, then the doctor may prescribe hypnotics (sleeping pills). Such prescriptions are prescribed only for those people who suffer from chronic insomnia.
Features of taking sleeping pills:
- It is forbidden to combine tablets with the intake of alcoholic beverages and with other medicines.
- Sleeping pills can enhance the effect of antipsychotics and antidepressants.
- It is forbidden to take sleeping pills for pregnant and lactating women.
- Sleeping pills have a negative effect on concentration. They are forbidden to be accepted by people whose work requires a quick reaction.
- Medications for insomnia are addictive and should not be taken for longer than 21 days. Then you need to take a break.
If you cannot cope with insomnia without pills, then you need to start with dietary supplements and herbal remedies:
- Valerian. Take 2 tablets at bedtime.
- Antistressorosis. The drug is based on herbal ingredients. It includes hawthorn, hop, mint, motherwort, etc.
- Neurostabil. The remedy is based on B vitamins, hops, oregano and motherwort.
- Femina Allga. This drug is suitable for the treatment of insomnia in women.
- Herbal tea with mint and oregano, hibiscus.
- Normoxane. It contains the Baikal skullcap. This plant is much more effective than valerian.
- Products with magnesium in the composition.
You can buy without a prescription drugs such as: Circadin, Melaxen and Melaton. They are all based on melatonin. This substance controls blood pressure, endocrine glands, and circadian rhythms.
Melatonin is produced at night. It is produced by the body itself. Preparations with melatonin are designed to compensate for its lack, thereby relieving a person from insomnia. However, such drugs cannot be called hypnotics. Melatonin medications are often used in jet lag to help the body rebuild.
Sleeping pills based on chemical components include:
- Benzodiazepine tranquilizers: Phenazepam, Diazepam, Relanium.
- Zopiclone: Zolpidem, Sonex, Somnol, Sonnat.
- Barbiturates: Phenobarbital, Sodium Etaminal.
- H1 blockers of histamine receptors: Pipolfen, Diphenhydramine.
All of these medicines are available from the pharmacy with a prescription. Therefore, the doctor selects their dosage. He also determines the terms of treatment.
3 recommendations of an expert sleep doctor
If you have insomnia, don't go to bed early
You need to go to bed only when such a desire appears. Lying awaiting sleep is strongly discouraged. There is a rule of 15 minutes. If during this time it was not possible to fall asleep, then you need to get out of bed. You can go to another room and do some quiet things: listen to music, wash dishes, etc. When the desire to sleep appears, you need to return to bed. If you stick to this advice for several weeks, the person will learn to fall asleep faster.
If a person is a "night owl", then he cannot be made a "lark"
Recently, more and more information appears that you need to go to bed no later than 24:00. This allows you to get better sleep, and the body will produce more beneficial hormones.
According to the head. The Sleep Medicine Department of the Otolaryngology Center of the FMBA of Alexander Melnikov, this theory of sleep is one of the most widespread myths. He points out that the process of producing beneficial hormones depends on the stages of sleep, and not on the time of going to bed. If a person is a "morning person", then he should go to bed earlier, but "owls" such a recommendation can harm. The peak in melatonin production occurs later in them. You can go to bed at 2 am, but a person should sleep for the prescribed 7-8 hours. It is important to create comfortable conditions: turn off the light, curtain the windows. It is necessary to go to bed at the same time, with a discrepancy of no more than half an hour. This recommendation is the same for both "larks" and "owls".
It is possible to transform an "owl" into a "lark", but it is quite difficult. Moreover, the success of such an event cannot be guaranteed. It is likely that the person will develop health problems. It is possible to change the chronotype without consequences for the organism in the intermediate variants of the "half-half-half-funnel".
Often people go to the doctor with the problem that they go to bed late, and in the morning they cannot get up on time. Because of this, there are constant conflicts with the boss at work. Such people are advised to simply change jobs, there are no other options.
Using the mobile app
Indeed, there are applications that doctors recommend to their patients. Sleep on cue is an example of such a free app. It really helps you fall asleep, scientifically proven.
You need to insert headphones into the phone. The motion sensor checks whether a person is asleep or not. From time to time, the device will send vibrations if the person is still awake. When sleep occurs, the device will enter automatic mode. After the time necessary for rest has passed, the device will wake the person up by itself. The application teaches the rules of sleep.
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Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist
Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".