Insomnia is most often defined by an individual’s report of sleeping difficulties. Insomnia is most often determined in an individual if they can answer yes to either of the following questions “Do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “Do you have difficulty falling and staying asleep?” While one can commonly hear insomnia being referred to as a disease or disorder, in truth it is a sign and a symptom. Insomnia in fact is a sign and symptom that most likely is secondary to an underlying condition rather than the main condition.
There are three types of insomnia Transient insomnia which last for less than a week, Acute insomnia the inability to sleep great for less than a month and Chronic insomnia which refers to being unable to sleep for more than a month.
There are a couple of different insomnia patterns and one is referred to as sleep-onset insomnia and the other as nocturnal awakenings. Sleep-onset insomnia is identified by an individual’s inability to fall asleep and remain asleep, which could be a symptom of either an anxiety disorder or what is known as a delayed sleep disorder. Nocturnal awakenings are defined by an individual’s inability to fall back to sleep after being woken up in the middle of the night or waking too early in the morning. Awakening in the middle of the night is referred to as “middle of the night insomnia” and waking before the crack of dawn is classified as “terminal insomnia.” For middle of the night insomniacs this could be a sign of some sort of pain disorder or illness and for the terminal insomniac this could be a symptom of depression.
There is also another insomnia category known as subjective insomnia, which is not insomnia in the traditional sense. Subjective insomnia, also referred to as sleep state misperception, is the result of an individual that has slept for a normal duration but underestimates the time it took to fall asleep. So a person may feel and say they only got four hours of sleep when in reality they received 8 full hours of sleep.
Causes of Insomnia:
The use of psychoactive drugs or stimulants including medications, coffee and nicotine
Restless Leg Syndrome
Pain due to an injury or any condition that causes pain
Mental disorders like Bipolar disorder or Clinical depression
Parasomnias, which include disruptive dreams and nightmares
If insomnia makes it difficult for you to function throughout your day, it is definitely time to see your doctor. You and your doctor if upon determining a sleep disorder will probably refer you out to a sleep specialist, where certain steps and procedures can be taken to help you get on with your sleep.