Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that creates difficulty with sleep initiation and maintenance. Insomnia is a very common disorder among people all over the world irrespective of their gender, age or culture.
Insomnia is a clinical diagnosis. Many think that insomnia is having no sleep at all. Many insomniacs think that they get very little sleep but when it is tested total sleep time is much greater than they thought. But the problem related to insomnia is not having quality sleep.
There are many symptoms that are associated with insomnia. A person suffering from insomnia can either have some of the below-mentioned symptoms of can have all of them.
As there are at least three to four types of insomnia, the symptoms differ from one to another. Mainly insomnia can be divided in to two. The first one is chronic insomnia and the second one is short-term insomnia.
Chronic Insomnia symptoms
To be diagnosed as a chronic insomnia patient, one needs to experience the below-mentioned symptoms at least three times per week for at least three months.
The first warning signal of insomnia is problems in falling asleep at night. Normal person must fall asleep within thirty minutes after going to the bed and a person with chronic insomnia takes more than thirty minutes for fall asleep. This time is 20 minutes for a child.
Another main symptom is not feeling well-rested in the morning. This is due to lack of continued sleep the patient gets due to insomnia and waking up too early. Therefore they find it exhausted and tired in the morning.
Also, daytime fatigue or sleepiness is a very common symptom as the human body always demand for adequate sleep.
Apart from this mood swings, irritability is visible from insomnia patients as their body, as well as mind, do not get the required level of rest to keep up with the day-to-day workload.
Patients with insomnia always complain about finding it difficult to pay attention or focus on things as before.
Having memory issues, forgetfulness is also a common symptoms of insomnia.
Increased risk for errors and accidents, hyperactivity are also considered as symptoms of insomnia.
The diagnosis criteria of short term insomnia is very much similar to chronic insomnia. But the key difference is patients experience the symptoms less than three nights per week and/or less than three months.
There is no need to have all these symptoms to seek medical advice for an insomnia patient and in case you find it difficult to fall asleep or you feel like you have some sort of a sleeping-related disorder first action for you to take is seeking medical advice.
But before going to a doctor you must maintain a sleep diary for a couple of weeks leading up to your appointment with doctor.
It must contain notes about the time taken for falling asleep and awake, weaknesses felt and all other important facts of your night sleep.
Also, you need to maintain a record on how you felt during the day, how often you got exercises, how much caffeine or alcohol you consumed and how much stress the work you engaged during the daytime. These help the doctor to find the sleep latency patterns and associated factors to diagnose insomnia.
Although currently there is no specific diagnosis for insomnia, the first step in insomnia diagnosis is a medical examination accompanied by a questionnaire. Once the initial diagnosis is completed the medical professional will then prescribe one or more of the following three tests.
- Sleep study: This is a complete observation of your sleepover on full night which can happen either at a sleep centre or at home as prescribed by doctor. Also, this can be extended to monitoring of you daytime maintenance f wakefulness and measures of how well you perform the day.
- Actigraphy: This monitors how well you sleep on a nightly basis by wearing a small body sensor.
- Blood test: As a precautionary measurement medical professionals can advise you to check thyroid issues and other problems that can lead to sleep losses without having insomnia.
Using one or more of the above tools, the doctor figures out the factors that affects your sleep and then they determine the underline disorder that causes for a disturbed sleeping pattern.
In order to identify whether you have insomnia, there are some important facts you should discuss with your doctor. They are,
- What your sleep trouble look like, when and how often you experience it
- How long you have had the trouble in sleep
- You typical sleep routine
- Whether your weekend and weekday night sleep schedules are different
- What you do to fall asleep
- Any external stress factors that keep you awake
- How calm is your sleeping environment
- Whether you recently faced a drastic life-changing incident
When you give all these details to your medical professional, he finds it easy to diagnose whether you have insomnia or it is some other medical condition. Proper identification of the issue is vital to get accurate treatment for the underline issue.