Insomnia

person Posted By: Dott. Antonio Parisi list In: Sleep & Insomnia On: comment Comment: 0 favorite Hit: 129

Insomnia can manifest itself with difficulty falling asleep or even staying in bed for a long time without being able to fall asleep, causing severe tiredness the next morning.

Insomnia

This is a very common problem, especially in the elderly.

Normally the ideal nighttime sleep duration for an adult is 7-8 hours. Babies and babies sleep longer, while the elderly sleep less. It is important that you sleep of a good quality to avoid daytime fatigue which negatively affects your daily activities.

Symptoms

  • Disorders (symptoms) caused by insomnia include:
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • lying awake in bed for long periods at night
  • getting out of bed several times during the night
  • wake up early in the morning and never go back to sleep
  • not feeling rested upon waking up
  • difficulty taking a nap during the day while feeling tired
  • feeling tired and irritable during the day and having difficulty concentrating

Some people can experience insomnia episodes that come and go without causing serious problems. In others, however, insomnia can last for months and even years. In these cases, persistent insomnia can lead to a deterioration in the quality of life, limit daily activities, affect the mood and cause relationship problems with friends, family and colleagues.

Causes

It is not always clear what triggers insomnia but, often, this condition is associated with:

  • stress and anxiety
  • an unsuitable environment for sleep, such as an uncomfortable bed, a room that is too bright, noisy, hot or cold
  • lifestyle, such as jet lag, working shifts, drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • mental health problems, such as depression or even schizophrenia
  • physical health problems, such as heart disease, other sleep disturbances and constant pain
  • some medications, such as antidepressants, epilepsy medications, and steroid medications

If one or more disorders (symptoms) related to insomnia appear and have lasted for months, it is necessary to go to the general practitioner. If, after changing your sleep habits, your complaints do not improve, your doctor may order a visit to the neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders for further information. The neurologist will investigate the lifestyle in general, the diet followed, the present and past state of health to deduce any diseases and therapies that may have contributed to the insomnia. He will also be able to advise, in order to better assess the severity of insomnia, to keep a diary in which to write down the times of sleep for a couple of weeks.

Therapy

Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe cognitive behavioral therapy to help change thoughts and habits that disrupt sleep. Compared to what happened in the past, except for severe cases and for short periods of time, the doctor rarely prescribes sleeping pills as these drugs can have serious side effects and be addictive.

Melatonin

Sometimes melatonin is used for a period determined by the doctor to relieve insomnia in adults 55 years of age and older. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle.

Common side effects include:

  • headache
  • back pain
  • joint pain

Prevention

There are several things you can do to improve sleep. They include:

  • keep a fixed time to go to sleep and wake up;
  • relax before going to bed, for example take a hot bath or listen to relaxing music;
  • use blackout curtains on the windows, eye mask and earplugs, to avoid being disturbed or awakened by light or noise;
  • avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and physical activity, a few hours before bedtime;
  • do not watch TV or use your mobile phone, tablet or computer just before going to sleep
  • avoid naps during the day;
  • write a list of your main thoughts and concerns and any ideas on how to deal with them before going to sleep. Such forethought can help you avoid thinking about it until morning.

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