What is Insomnia ?
Insomnia is a symptom of any of several sleep disorders, characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity. Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. By definition, insomnia is "difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both" and it may be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Both organic and non-organic insomnia without other cause constitute a sleep disorder, primary insomnia.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services in the year 2007, approximately 64 million Americans regularly suffer from insomnia each year. Insomnia is 1.4 times more common in women than in men.
What Causes Insomnia?
- Psychoactive drugs or stimulants, including certain medications, herbs, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, MDMA, methamphetamine and modafinil
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs, see Fluoroquinolone toxicity, associated with more severe and chronic types of insomnia
- Hormone shifts such as those that precede menstruation and those during menopause
- Life problems like fear, stress, anxiety, emotional or mental tension, work problems, financial stress, unsatisfactory sex life
- Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive compulsive disorder.
- Disturbances of the circadian rhythm, such as shift work and jet lag, can cause an inability to sleep at some times of the day and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day. Jet lag is seen in people who travel through multiple time zones, as the time relative to the rising and setting of the sun no longer coincides with the body's internal concept of it. The insomnia experienced by shift workers is also a circadian rhythm sleep disorder.
- Estrogen is considered to play a significant role in women’s mental health (including insomnia). A conceptual model of how estrogen affects mood was suggested by Douma et al. 2005 based on their extensive literature review relating activity of endogenous, bio-identical and synthetic estrogen with mood and well-being. They concluded the sudden estrogen withdrawal, fluctuating estrogen, and periods of sustained estrogen low levels correlated with significant mood lowering. Clinical recovery from depression postpartum, perimenopause, and postmenopause was shown to be effective after levels of estrogen were stabilized and/or restored.
- Certain neurological disorders, brain lesions, or a history of traumatic brain injury
- Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis
- Abuse of over-the counter or prescription sleep aids can produce rebound insomnia
- Poor sleep hygiene, e.g., noise
- Parasomnia, which includes a number of disruptive sleep events including nightmares, sleepwalking, violent behavior while sleeping, and REM behavior disorder, in which a person moves his/her physical body in response to events within his/her dreams
- A rare genetic condition can cause a prion-based, permanent and eventually fatal form of insomnia called fatal familial insomnia
- Parasites can cause intestinal disturbances while sleeping.
Sleep studies using polysomnography have suggested that people who have insomnia with sleep disruption have elevated nighttime levels of circulating cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone They also have an elevated metabolic rate, which does not occur in people who do not have insomnia but whose sleep is intentionally disrupted during a sleep study. Studies of brain metabolism using positron emission tomography (PET) scans indicate that people with insomnia have higher metabolic rates by night and by day. The question remains whether these changes are the causes or consequences of long-term insomnia.
Insomnia can be common after the loss of a loved one, even years or decades after the death, if they have not gone through the grieving process. Overall, symptoms and the degree of their severity affect each individual differently depending on their mental health, physical condition, and attitude or personality.
A common misperception is that the amount of sleep required decreases as a person ages. The ability to sleep for long periods, rather than the need for sleep, appears to be lost as people get older. Some elderly insomniacs toss and turn in bed and occasionally fall off the bed at night, diminishing the amount of sleep they receive.
Dietary supplements that help control insomnia
Sleepeez is a specially designed combination of herbs and nutrients essential for supporting the nervous system and sleep patterns. It contains sedative herbs that are beneficial for sleep disorders caused by anxiety, stress and irritability.
Royal Jellyhas been taken for a host of ailments. In addition to its use as a general health tonic, people take royal jelly to:
- Enhance immunity
- Prevent arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Treat asthma
- Slow the signs of aging
- Stimulate hair growth
- Improve sexual performance
- Reduce symptoms of menopause
- Accelerating the healing and consolidation of fractured bones
- Lower cholesterol
- Alleviate cardiovascular ailments
- Remedy liver disease, pancreatitis, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, and digestive and skin disorders
- Reduce tiredness and overwork, asthenia, anxiety states, insomnia and anorexia.