Patients in Willoughby Hills ask, “What is insomnia?”
At some point in their lives, nearly everyone experiences insomnia. Stress, jet lag, your diet, or even excitement can keep you from getting precious hours of quality sleep. In some cases, insomnia is just an occasional occurrence. For other patients, insomnia is ongoing. If you suffer from sleepless nights, you may have wondered, “What is insomnia?” Patients in Willoughby Hills can turn to Dr. Michael Stern and the team at Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC for help in defining the causes and effects of insomnia.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomniacs may also wake up too early in the morning. Patients with insomnia lack quality sleep. They often experience fatigue, lack of energy, moodiness, problems concentrating, and decreased performance at work or school.
Insomnia may be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia is generally brief and may be caused by certain life events. Usually once the trigger or stress has passed, quality sleep returns. Medical intervention is usually not needed. Chronic insomnia occurs at least three times per week for at least three months.
Health effects of insomnia
A night or two with little sleep leaves you feeling tired and moody. Going night after night with little or interrupted sleep takes a toll on your body and on your overall health. It is important to find the underlying cause of your sleepless nights as insomnia can increase your risk of additional health concerns.
- There is an increased risk of medical conditions such as stroke, seizure, weak immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
- Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and confusion are common among individuals who have trouble sleeping well.
- Accidents and impaired performance at school or work may occur due to daytime sleepiness and reduced memory, and judgment.
- A shortened life expectancy has been found in studies linking less sleep to mortality.
Causes of insomnia
Insomnia has many causes. If you suffer from sleepless nights, seek medical help to determine what factors may be interrupting your sleep. Common causes include the following:
- Jet lag
- Environmental changes
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of a normal sleeping schedule due to work or travel
- Mental health disorders
- Restless leg syndrome
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, review your health, your schedule, and your habits. Consider whether anything you are doing might be contributing to your problems sleeping. For some people, simple steps such as limiting distractions from TV, phones, or the computer can help improve sleep. If this does not help, seek medical attention to determine if there is an underlying health condition such as sleep apnea affecting your sleep.
Underlying sleep disorders can cause insomnia. Restless legs syndrome is a neurological condition that causes patients to have uncomfortable feelings of needing to move their legs. This can lead to insomnia. Symptoms of restless legs syndrome usually arise later in the day and during periods of inactivity. Falling asleep and staying asleep can be difficult.
Patients with sleep apnea may experience insomnia. Sleep apnea is a condition in which patients stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. Usually, the upper airway is blocked by soft tissue collapsing during sleep. This blockage disrupts airflow and causes interrupted sleep. The pauses or breaks in breathing may last more than 10 seconds and can occur multiple times each hour. The individual does not get enough oxygen and there are repeated drops in the blood oxygen level. This affects various organs of the body, including the brain. Not only is sleep interrupted leaving the patient tired and grumpy, but also, the breathing pauses impact the brain by depriving it of proper oxygen. Patients may experience memory loss, dizziness, and migraines.
Stop living with insomnia. If you suffer from sleep apnea and disrupted sleep, let us improve the quality of your sleep. At Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC, we offer oral appliances as alternatives to bulky CPAP machines for sleep apnea treatment. Like a mouth guard, these custom appliances effectively treat sleep apnea to help patients sleep more soundly. Oral appliances comfortably keep the jaw in the proper position and the airway open.