Insomnia – A modern day epidemic

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. It is a sleep disorder that regularly affects millions of people worldwide. Insomnia can be caused by psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances and/or certain biological factors.

Here are a few important causes of insomnia-

  1. Disruptions in circadian rhythm – Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
  2. Psychological issues – depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder or psychotic disorders.
  3. Medical conditions – chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure, angina, acid-reflux disease (GERD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sleep apnoea, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, brain lesions, stroke.
  4. Hormones – oestrogen, hormone shifts during menstruation.
  5. Other factors – sleeping next to a snoring partner, parasites, genetic conditions, overactive mind, pregnancy.
  6. 6. Poor sleep habits – Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
  7. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol – Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night.

Insomnia is not a disease, and no test can diagnose it.

Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically. Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are common associated symptoms.

The treatment for insomnia depends on its underlying cause. Treatment for insomnia focuses on the reason why you don’t sleep well. In addition to treating the underlying cause of insomnia, both medical and non-pharmacological (behavioural) treatments may be used as therapies.

Talk to your doctor about your sleep problems and any other health issues you may have. This is important, because lack of sleep can lead to depression, accidents, problems at work, marital and social problems, drinking more alcohol than usual , and poor health. Treatment may help you avoid these problems and feel better.


Dr.Afroze Fatima



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