Insomnia - Causes and Treatments

Insomnia is a feeling of inadequate sleep that may include problems with sleep initiation, sleep maintenance, and non-restorative sleep. The patient may have feelings of fatigue, tiredness, or social impairments.
In the United States, about 10 percent of the adult population has chronic problems with insomnia. Insomnia occurs more frequently in women than men.
Some insomniacs that have sleep studies (polysomnographies) may have adequate sleep, but following testing may think they slept far less than what actually occurred. This can be found in Sleep State misperception.
Possible etiologies can include disorders such a psychiatric, medical, drug-related, learned, inadequate or poor sleep hygiene, circadian rhythm disorders, environment contributory factors, etc. Medical disorders that periodic leg movement disorder (moving legs in sleep causing brain arousal), sleep disordered breathing (obstructive sleep apnea), asthma, food allergies, chronic pain syndromes, neurological disorders, menstrual related problems, etc.
Drugs that can cause insomnia include some sleeping pills, theophylline, prednisone, etc. Also some drugs that can cause abnormal leg movements in sleep include tricyclic antidepressants.
Environmental factors that can interfere with sleep include sleeping at the wrong temperature, noise, an uncomfortable mattress or pillow, or too much light. Some people need background noise such as a fan to sleep.
Psychiatric disorders can cause or contribute to insomnia such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and others. Also stress from any source can interfere with sleep. Some patients like to review their day in bed and then the bed becomes associated with frustration.
Sleep hygiene or poor sleep hygiene can interfere with sleep such as reading, eating, or watching TV in bed. Some patients drink alcohol, smoke, drink caffeinated beverages that can contribute to poor sleep. There can be a shift to earlier sleep or later sleep that contributes to early morning wakenings of late bedtimes.
Depending on the cause, insomnia can be treated with behavioral therapy, improved sleep hygiene, relaxation therapy, light therapy, sleep restriction, modification of medications, and CPAP. Not every cause or treatment works for every patient. For further evaluation, call 228-474-6111 or 228-818-0661.