What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a problem where you have difficulties getting to sleep, or staying asleep during the night or both. A lack of good quality sleep can have a negative effect both physically and emotionally, causing fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and irritability.
The ideal number of hours you should sleep varies from person to person, but on average, seven to eight hours suits most. The odd spell of insomnia brought about because of illness or stress is something you can catch up on, and shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
However, if you have chronic insomnia that prevents you from sleeping properly most nights, you should contact Gwinnett Psychiatry.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia could be a symptom of another health condition, or it can occur on its own. Some of the more common reasons to have insomnia include:
- Poor sleep habits
- Shift work
- Late-night eating
- Stimulants (e.g., caffeine)
- Chronic pain
- Sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you have a chronic medical condition such as hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, or a chronic pain problem, that can also keep you awake or wake you often during the night.
Certain medications can cause insomnia in some people. Blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, asthma medications, and over-the-counter medicines that have stimulants in them are the more common culprits.
Insomnia is also more likely to affect older people, who tend to sleep less because of the aging process.
How is insomnia treated?
We first need to review your medical history and current medications at Gwinnett Psychiatry. There could be clues to the cause of your insomnia, for instance, you might need to try a different medication, or it could be related to a health problem you already have.
Addressing these issues by changing your medication and treating underlying health conditions could resolve the problem for you.
Good sleep habits are also important. You should go to bed and get up at regular times, and avoid napping during the day. Make sure the mattress and pillows are comfortable and avoid the following activities when you’re close to sleep time:
- Phones and tablets
- Game consoles
If these frontline measures aren’t helping you sleep, Gwinnett Psychiatry uses CBT-I (cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia), which includes approaches such as:
- Healthy sleep strategies
- Muscle relaxation
- Breathing exercises
- Sleep restriction
- Stress management
- Passive wakefulness
- Light therapy
Treatments like TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) might also be helpful for some patients who, for example, have insomnia alongside depression, or anxiety.
You might need to take sleeping pills for a short time, but these are only usually used when other therapies aren’t producing results.
If insomnia is affecting your health and well-being, call Gwinnett Psychiatry today or book an appointment online.