Insomnia is characterized by many sleep patterns and problems, but primarily insomnia just makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest, whether it’s because you find it hard to fall asleep or you wake up a lot and can’t get back to sleep — or both.
Insomnia is categorized as primary and second. Primary insomnia is sui generis, so to speak. It comes on its own (usually deriving from your life-style choices). Secondary insomnia is caused by other factors, whether a health condition, a medication you’re taking, or your pre-bed consumption of alcohol (which might help you fall asleep but will disrupt the rest of your night).
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below, you can figure you’re facing insomnia (or perhaps other sleep disorder issue):
- You have difficulty falling asleep
- You wake up during the night and have trouble going back to sleep
- You wake up too early in the morning
- You feel tired when you wake up
- You’re routinely sleepy or tired during the day
- You feel cranky or irritable
- You have problems with focus or memory
Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia can linger for up to three months and is often related to stress or other situations that disrupt your life. Chronic insomnia is something for which you need to isolate the cause and treat or correct it. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life unable to get a good night’s sleep and thus continually suffer the next day.
Chronic insomnia is not necessarily something for which a sleep specialist can perform a physical procedure to cure, or prescribe a medicine to get rid of. Like acute insomnia, however, the more ominous sounding chronic version can also be caused by bad choices we make. We’ve already mentioned alcohol, but even eating too close to bedtime — or consuming caffeinated beverages — can give you insomnia. If you don’t change such habits, your initially acute insomnia can indeed become long-term.
For sure, if you’re dealing with stress or health issues that are causing your sleep problems, then you can and should seek psychological and/or physical help from professionals.
The bottom line, however, is to employ good sleep hygiene. Turn off the lights, the TV, the tablet, be sure the room is silent and dark — all these basics can make a huge difference.
Still, it never hurts to seek a sleep professional’s evaluation and advice. Sometimes you have to relearn common sense from an authority figure, so don’t hesitate to seek help at places like The Snoring Center.