Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a common problem. These woes—called insomnia—have far-reaching effects including a negative impact on concentration, productivity and mood. Occasional insomnia is experienced by more than a third of American adults, and chronic insomnia is known to affect more than one in ten. Insomnia is characterized by one or more of the following sleep complaints:
· Difficulty falling asleep
· Difficulty staying asleep
· Waking too early in the morning
· Experiencing non-restorative sleep
Research confirms that people with insomnia have poorer overall health, greater work absenteeism, lower job performance, more negative moods and greater use of healthcare services. People with chronic insomnia also report a higher rate of on-the-job accidents and using more disability days per month compared to other workers.
Types of Insomnia
· Acute insomnia—sleep disturbances a few nights per week that can last for up to one month due to a temporary situation such as stress, jet lag, grieving, job loss or relationship change.
· Chronic insomnia—sleep disturbances that occur an average of three nights per week and last more than one month.
· Primary insomnia—chronic sleep disturbances after underlying conditions are ruled out or treated.
Why Treat Insomnia?
Insomnia is a risk factor for the onset of depression and can significantly affect your quality of life. Consequences of not getting enough good sleep can include daytime sleepiness, impaired mood, depression, psychological distress, decreased ability to concentrate, difficulty solving problems and making decisions, as well as having an increased risk for injury, driving drowsy, and illness.
Insomnia can often be traced to an underlying cause; therefore, it is critical to identify and treat this problem. Problems or conditions that can lead to insomnia are:
· A life crisis or stress
· Environmental noise
· Side effects of medicine
· Chronic illness
· Jet lag
Diagnosis & Treatment
The first step in the treatment of any sleep disorder is to consult your doctor. Also, consider keeping a sleep diary for one or two weeks to record your sleep and health habits. Share your sleep diary with your doctor to help them identify any sleep problems you may have and determine appropriate treatment options. Most sleep disorders can be successfully diagnosed and treated. Proper treatment can lead to a good sleep and improve your overall health, safety and well-being.