Insomnia and its Effect on Health

 Insomnia and its Effect on Health

Introduction to Insomnia and its Effect on Health

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that occurs when an individual has one or multiple of these problems:

  • Difficulty in nocturnal sleeping
  • A person struggles to maintain sleep but results in waking up during the night
  • A person waking up too early and are unable to go back to sleep.

These symptoms can be caused by several biological, psychological, and social aspects of insomnia. I result in an insufficient amount of sleep, although the sufferer has the chance to get a full night of sleep. Therefore, it is different from sleep deprivation which occurs when an individual does not get the opportunity and time to make a full night of sleep. Very few ratios of people who have difficulty sleeping are short sleepers and can work as normal on only five hours of sleep each day.

Types of Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia:

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Primary insomnia

It is sleeplessness that cannot be ascribed to an existing medical, psychological, or environmental reason such as drug and alcohol abuse or several medications.

Secondary insomnia

It occurs when symptoms of insomnia arise from a primary medical illness, mental disorders, or other sleep disorders. It may also arise from the use, abuse, or exposure to certain substances.

The predominance of Insomnia

Research study shows that about 30 out of a hundred adults have symptoms of insomnia from which 10 per cent of them having severity enough to cause daytime effects. Less than 10 per cent of grown-ups are expected to have chronic sleeplessness. Insomnia is believed as a disorder only when it triggers a significant amount of distress, anxiety or daytime consequences and other impairments. The International Classification of Sleep Ailments records the subsequent types of insomnia:

Adjustment Insomnia

This is also referred to as acute insomnia or short-term insomnia. It is typically caused by stress and manages to last for only a few days or weeks. Several studies reveal that the one-year prevalence of adjustment insomnia among adults is expected to be in the range of 15-20%. It can occur at any age, though determining a relationship between certain stress and sleep interruption may be difficult in infants and toddlers. Women are more prone to adjustment insomnia as compared to men, similarly, it is more common in older adults than younger adults and children.

Two primary types of insomnia usually found in children.

  1. Sleep-onset association type: It normally occurs when a child is associated falling asleep with an action such as being held or rocked, holding an object (bottle or toy), and is incapable to fall asleep if removed from that association.
  2. Limit-setting type: It involves refusing and stalling of the child to go to sleep in the absence of strictly imposed bedtime restrictions. About 10-30% of children are influenced by this condition.


  • Several health risks are associated with insomnia. It can increase the chances of mental problems and overall health concerns.
  • It can increase several risks for medical conditions which include stroke, asthma attacks, seizures, poor immune system, infection, swelling, pain sensitivity, diabetes, hypertension and heart and lung diseases.
  • It can heighten the risk for several disorders such as depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, and frustration.
  • Insomnia can increase the chances of trauma like road traffic accidents during the daytime.
  • It can affect a person’s performance at work, memory, and judgements.
  • Getting insomnia can shorten life expectancy. Study reveals that over 1 million deaths take place at the link between sleep duration and mortality each year. It has been noticed that sleeping less increased chance for death by 12 per cent as compared to those who slept seven to eight hours each night. A recent study found that individuals with persistent insomnia had a 97% increased risk of fatality.
  • The instant concern is daytime tiredness. A lack of energy can cause emotions of anxiety, depression, or frustration. It does not affect the performance at work or school, but lack of sleeping might also increase the risk of car accidents which is the major cause of mortality.

Causes of Insomnia

Several reasons may cause insomnia. Some of them are connected to a person’s daily routine lifestyle and personal events. It includes:

  • Abnormal sleeping schedule
  • Late-night jobs
  • Daytime sleeping schedule
  • Lack of physical activities
  • Excessive usage of technologies and gadgets including laptops and mobile phones
  • Sleeping in a noisy environment
  • Separation from loved ones
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • The excitement of upcoming events
  • Recent travel between different time zones (jet lag)
  • Use of some substances that hurt sleep which includes caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, diet pills and several prescribed medications.

Management of Insomnia

Lifestyle Modification: Several strategies help to overcome insomnia. Medications may provide effective short-term results, but lifestyle modifications can provide long-term efficacy on health and reduce the chances of mortality.

Supplements: Melatonin supplements can help to regulate the sleep and makes the person feels sleepier but excessive dosage can disrupt the sleep and can result in headaches, nausea, and frustration. Consulting to the doctor for dosage is essential specifically, for children. Other products, including herbal supplements, have little evidence to support and improves insomnia.

Drugs and Medications: Consulting doctor is necessary if lifestyle changes do not improve the disorder. It will help to search for any underlying disease and may prescribe sleep medications. Most of the sleep aids contain antihistamine which can help in sleeping better, but they also may cause severe daytime sleepiness. Though long-term usage of medications has never been recommended. Some of the drugs that are usually prescribed are doxepin, zolpidem, zaleplon, ramelteon. Several sleeping pills can cause adverse effects, such as dizziness, diarrhoea and nausea, drowsiness, serious allergic reactions, daytime sleepiness, memory problems and fatigue

Therapy: Multiple combinations of therapies also shows a beneficial result. Most preferred is cognitive behavioural therapy which helps in good sleeping habits and provides benefits that last well beyond the end of treatment. It improves attitudes and beliefs that hinder your sleep. Relaxing therapy may also help to calm your mind and body. Moreover, sleep hygiene therapy and stimulus control assist the individual to correct the bad habits that contribute to poor sleep and makes the person go to bed only when drowsy, waking at the same time every day, leaving the bed when unable to sleep, avoiding naps and using the bed only for sleep.



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