Causes, Symptoms and Consequences of Insomnia

Published: 2021-09-15 17:40:09
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Category: Illness, Mental Health, Nursing

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Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling or staying asleep, even though people have the chance for sleep. The condition can be short term which is acute, lasting for days or weeks, long term which is chronic and lasting for a month or more. Acute insomnia is often caused by stressful events, such as job-related problems, death of family member, life pressure and others. Chronic insomnia also has a secondary cause, such as medical or psychiatric problem. According to National Institutes of Health, people with insomnia can feel sleepy during the day, have difficulty concentrating and learning, feel irritable, and feel anxious or depressed. Those with persistent sleep disturbances are also at increased risk for traffic accidents, have higher rates of absenteeism from work or school, and are less satisfied with their jobs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked insomnia to accidents and mistakes on the job and along the road. According to some studies, 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep disorder such as insomnia, will affect daily functioning, health and longevity. Some people believe that therapy is the best treatment for insomnia, while others believe that medication is the best treatment for insomnia.
Epidemiologists forecast that the total prevalent cases of acute insomnia in the 7 major markets will increase from 121,799,911 in 2013, to 130,482,156 in 2023 at an Annual Growth Rate (AGR) of 0.71%. Global Data epidemiologists forecast an increase in the total prevalent cases of chronic insomnia in the 7 major markets from 62,982,390 total prevalent cases in 2013, to 67,471,957 total prevalent cases in 2023 at an annual growth rate of 0.71%. The 7 major markets had an estimated 23,690,040 total prevalent cases of chronic primary insomnia in 2013 and the number of total prevalent cases is expected to increase to 25,378,728 by 2023, at an annual growth rate of 0.71%. Global Data epidemiologists forecast that the total prevalent cases of chronic secondary insomnia in the 7 major markets will increase from 53,697,425 total prevalent cases in 2013, to 57,525,122 total prevalent cases in 2023 at an annual growth rate of 0.71%. Insomnia costs the US government between $15 and $92 billion alone in healthcare costs and loses about $63.2 billion per year in employee productivity; even more devastating, statistics show that 100,000 vehicle accidents occur each year due to drowsy driving. Insomnia can lead to a very specific type of hopelessness, and the hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide.The symptoms of insomnia may include, fatigue, problems with attention, concentration or memory which is cognitive impairment, poor performance at school or work, moodiness or irritability, daytime sleepiness, impulsiveness or aggression, lack of energy or motivation, errors or accidents and concern or frustration about your sleep. Most cases of insomnia are related to poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness, or certain medications. Common signs of insomnia such as, cannot go to sleep at night, wake up without provocation, cannot return to sleep once you have woken up, irritability, mood swings, sleepy during the day, fall asleep immediately if you sit down or lie down, concentration is shot, memory problems, trips, fall, and accidents.
There are many causes of insomnia such as, medical conditions which some are mild and others more serious. In some cases, a medical condition itself causes insomnia, while in other cases, symptoms of the condition cause discomfort that can make it difficult for a person to sleep. Examples of medical conditions that can cause insomnia are sinus or nasal allergies, gastrointestinal problems such as reflux, endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and low back pain. The medications such as those taken for the common cold and nasal allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, birth control, asthma, and depression can cause insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by psychiatric conditions such as depression. Psychological struggles can make it hard to sleep because of too much thinking. Insomnia can affect changes in mood, shifts in hormones and physiology.
Most adults have had some trouble sleeping because they feel worries or nervous, but for some it is a pattern that interferes with sleep on a regular basis. Anxiety symptoms that can cause insomnia include, tension, getting caught up in thoughts about problems, excessive worrying about future problems, the feeling of pressure by responsibilities, a general feeling of being revved up or overstimulated. Lifestyle and sleep habits can also cause insomnia such as, take naps even if they are short nap in the afternoon. Short naps can be helpful for some people, but for others they make it difficult to fall asleep at night because of the afternoon nap, playing computer or phone while lying on the bed. The light from computer and smartphone could also make the brain more alert and keep running. Sometimes sleep in later to make up for lost sleep such as wake up a little later than usual wake up time can confuse body’s clock and make it difficult to fall asleep again on the following night. A shift worker that works irregular hours can also cause insomnia. Non-traditional hours can confuse body’s clock, especially when trying to sleep during the day, or schedule changes periodically. Certain substances and activities, including eating patterns, can cause insomnia such as alcohol which is a sedative. It can make people fall asleep initially but may disrupt the sleep later in the night. Caffeine which is a stimulant that most people drink it in the morning to help them start the day and feel productive. Caffeine in moderation is good for most people, but over use of caffeine can cause insomnia. Nicotine is also a stimulant and can cause insomnia. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep. Heavy meals close to bedtime can interfere sleep. When people over eat in the evening, it can cause discomfort and make it hard for body to digest, settle and relax. Spicy foods can also cause heartburn that disrupt with sleep.
Partial or total lack of sleep can dramatically change an individual’s thinking and behavior and negatively impact his or her physical, mental, and emotional health. Common daytime consequences of insomnia include fatigue, lack of energy, daytime sleepiness, impaired concentration or memory, social or vocational dysfunction, and disturbances in mood or motivation. Insomnia has several significant direct and indirect effects on people’s health that can increase functional impairment, decrease quality of life, increase psychological and psychiatric issues, reduce cognitive and psychomotor functioning, increase absenteeism from work or school, decreased job performance and increase use of health care services. Insomnia has also been associated with several chronic health problems including heart disease, hypertension, endocrine dysfunction and musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis. In healthy human, one night of total sleep deprivation can decrease cognitive functioning, impair memory, reduce endocrine, metabolic functioning, and cause cardiovascular dysfunction.
The public health consequences of insomnia are being errors in judgment contributing to disastrous events such as mortality, morbidity, performance, accidents, injuries, functioning, quality of life, family well-being, and health care utilization. Other example such as obesity and hypertension can contribute to chronic sleep problems. After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders such as insomnia have profound and widespread effects on human health.
Researchers at Georgia Regents University examined the possible influence of insomnia and disturbed sleep among patients with a history of depression and suicide. Their analysis revealed that the connection between insomnia and suicidal thoughts may be influenced by nightmares, negative attitude and beliefs about sleep in patients who are suffering from depression. Their study included 50 patients between the ages of 20 to 84. All had received treatment for depression either as inpatients or outpatients, or in the emergency room. 72% percent of the participants were women, and a majority 56% had attempted suicide at least once. Researchers measured levels of depression and insomnia, feelings of hopelessness, as well as the presence and severity of nightmares and attitudes and beliefs about sleep. Participants experienced moderate insomnia, on average. The analysis showed an association between the presence and severity of insomnia and suicidal thoughts. The negative feelings about sleep, as well as nightmares experienced by people with depression and insomnia, may be critical predictors for suicidal thoughts.

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