A person who commonly gets a good night’s sleep is usually someone who is of sound body and mind. But when one suffers from insomnia, which is difficulty in sleeping adequately, life can become extremely difficult since a sleep deficit can lead to daytime sleepiness, low energy, irritability, and a
depressed mood.

Insomnia is a condition that is surprisingly common affecting an estimated 30-40 percent of the population per year. Insomnia can be transient (a few days), acute (a few weeks), or chronic. The causes of insomnia are very diverse and include psychological disorders, medical conditions, and one’s lifestyle.achieving emotional well-being.

The psychological disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. Some of the medical conditions include chronic pain, chronic fatigue, heart disease, acid reflux, asthma, sleep apnea, arthritis, and hormonal imbalances. Additionally, many medications have insomnia as a possible side effect.

Lifestyle causes that lead to insomnia can include late-night activities that are not conducive for sleep such as ingesting alcohol or caffeine, use of technology that involves a lit screen such as a computer, exercise, and excessive eating. An irregular sleep schedule, daytime napping, and poor diet and exercise are sometimes factors in the cause of insomnia. Sometimes the cause can be as simple as jet lag or a change in one’s schedule with the beginning of a new job. But in such a case, insomnia will usually be transient. Very often, the cause of the insomnia is anxiety. Sometimes, the anxiety about not falling asleep is what prevents the person from falling asleep!

Before deciding on a course of action to treat the insomnia, it is imperative to determine the cause (or causes) of the insomnia. A medical history and a physical examination can help your doctor rule out various medical causes. A sleep specialist can be helpful in pinning down the exact cause. The sleep specialist might prescribe an overnight sleep study.

If the primary diagnosis is a medical or psychological condition, then treatment of that condition could greatly alleviate the insomnia.

The most common nonpharmacological intervention for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I has several components. They include stimulus control (teaching the client how to associate their bed with sleep), improving sleep hygiene (changes in the behaviors that precede the sleep), sleep restriction (limiting the amount of time in bed not sleeping), and cognitive therapy (changing the dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleeping).

Doctors will sometimes prescribe medication for the treatment of insomnia. Treatment of insomnia with medication should preferably be done under the guidance and monitoring of a physician as many of the medications have their own risks and side effects.

A good night’s sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. With the right intervention, your sleep and your peace of mind can be restored.