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The Types of Insomnia and Its Impact on One's Health

Apr 1, 2008
Insomnia, by itself, is not a disease. It may be a symptom of a physical and emotional imbalance or just manifestation of fatigue caused by lack of sleep. This condition is manifested by any of the following: a) light, interrupted sleep that one is still tired upon waking up, b) not being able to sleep, even if fatigued, c) lack of sleeping hours. Although this condition is usually temporary, insomnia may be classified based on the length of time it has affected the patient.

* Transient Insomnia - This condition persists just for a few days. Transient insomnia is normally induced by stress or as a direct response to changes. It is now and again named adjustment sleep disorder. The disorder may originate after a harmful event or even during modest changes such as travel or weather condition changes.

Caffeine and nicotine are also observed to affect sleeping patterns. Caffeine, which is present in coffee, and nicotine, present in cigarettes, can cause transient insomnia. In most cases, treatment for transient insomnia is not necessary. It usually resolves after a few days once the person was able to adjust to the new situations or surroundings.

* Short-term Insomnia - This lasts for three weeks or less. Short-term insomnia and transient insomnia are almost similar in their causes.

Female hormonal changes can affect sleep patterns. One of the female hormones, progesterone, promotes sleep. During menstruation, when its levels are low, women may experience insomnia. On the other hand, during ovulation, the increase in progesterone levels increases sleepiness. Fluctuations in the level of progesterone during pregnancy and menopause cause altered sleeping patterns leading to transient insomnia. Although women after 50 also experience chronic insomnia, this is usually caused by psychological or emotional factors.

Changes in working conditions, such as changing schedules, also cause short-run insomnia. Similarly, folks who tend to overwork get little rest than the median. Once, insomnia was also detected in people doing a great deal of electronic computer work.

Light can also impact one's sleep. Immoderate light at night can disturb sleep or even prevent drowsiness. In addition to, less light during the day, as in injured or elderly patients who rarely get out can also cause short-term insomnia. This is because of the levels of melatonin responding to darkness. Melatonin represents a hormone released by the pineal gland, a pea-sized gland at the middle of the brain, that attends to and regulates the cycles of sleeping and awakening.

* Chronic insomnia - when a person couldn't sleep, has interrupted sleep, or is still tired after sleeping; and the condition recurs for more than two nights every week for more than one month. Also, it is characterized when the patient is fatigued and believes that his daily activities are affected by this sleeping condition.

Based on the causes, chronic insomnia may be further characterized into primary or secondary: * Primary chronic insomnia - when the insomnia is not caused by any physical or mental imbalance. * Secondary chronic insomnia - may be caused by physical and mental conditions, such as depression, or emotional and psychiatric disorders.

In one study, in industrialized nations, chronic insomnia affects about ten percent of adults. Insomnia can affect a patient during daytime when patient may experience sleepiness in the mornings or in the afternoon. Some, despite their sleepiness report failure to nap. Even worse, another group reported excessive energy during the day. These people are more anxious and even more irritable.

Due to failure to take on decent rest, these people have low-keyed concentration. If somebody has preexistent medical condition, such as orthopedic painfulness or arthritis, this may be worsened by insomnia. When one surmises that he or she has insomnia, conferring with a doctor would be the most dependable advise. One of these therapies may as well be tried.

* Minimizing ingestion of beverages containing caffeine. This includes coffee, cola and chocolate. It is advisable to limit intake after 3pm. For most individuals, these substances are excreted from the body in a couple of hours. But some people have slow biological excreting process, which caffeine can remain in the body longer than the norm.

* Individuals can also limit stay in bed during the dormant hours. This is beneficial to increase the tendency to catch some Z's once in bed.
About the Author
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