What're the risk factors for insomnia?
Psychiatric problems. The strongest risk factors for insomnia are psychiatric problems, particularly depression, and physical complaints, such as headaches and chronic pain, that have no identifiable cause (called somatic symptoms). About 90% of people with depression have insomnia. In addition, insomnia and depression often coincide with somatic symptoms, particularly chronic pain. In fact, insomnia worsens chronic pain even in people who are not depressed.
Headaches that occur during the night or early in the morning may actually be caused by sleep disorders.
Gender. Insomnia is more common in women than men, although men are not immune from insomnia. Sleep efficiency deteriorates equally in men and women as they get older. In women, a number of hormonal events can disturb sleep, including premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. All these conditions are natural, and in most cases the wakefulness associated with them is temporary and can be ameliorated with sleep hygiene and time. After childbirth, most women develop a high sensitivity to the sounds of their children, which causes them to wake easily. Women who have had children sleep less efficiently than women who have not had children. It is possible that many women never unlearn this sensitivity and continue to wake easily long after the children have grown. After menopause women are susceptible to the same environmental and biologic causes of insomnia as men are. Older women who are not bothered by sleeplessness tend to have longer and better sleep than noninsomniac men their own age.
Age. As people grow older, sleep changes in most older people. Elderly people are more likely to be sedentary than younger adults. Medical conditions that cause pain or nighttime distress are common in the elderly. They include arthritis, gastrointestinal distress, urination problems, and heart conditions. Neurologic diseases in the elderly, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia, can cause nighttime disorientation, confused wandering, and delirium. Older people often take a number of prescription drugs whose side effects include insomnia. The elderly are also prone to grief, depression, and anxiety, the handmaidens of sleeplessness. One study found, in fact, that in healthy older adults, psychologic factors, such as anxiety and depression, were more likely to be the cause of insomnia than illness, medications, or living conditions.
Woking during night. Shift workers are at considerable risk for insomnia. Workers over 50 and those whose shifts are always changing are particularly susceptible to insomnia, although night-shift workers also have a high rate of sleeplessness.
Among the many conditions that pose a high risk for insomnia are frequent travel, particularly crossing time lines; post-traumatic stress syndrome; brian injuries; and many chronic medical conditions ranging from seemingly minor ones, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears) to major medication conditions, such as respiratory problems, heart disease, or being on dialysis.
More information on insomnia
What is insomnia? - Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or a disturbance in sleep that makes sleep seem inadequate or unrefreshing.
What types of insomnia are there? - Insomnia can be classified as transient, intermittent, and chronic insomnia. Insomnia is also characterized as primary or secondary insomnia.
What causes insomnia? - About half of all insomnia cases are caused by psychological or emotional problems. Sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism can also cause insomnia.
What causes transient insomnia? - Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation. A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and transient insomnia.
What causes chronic insomnia? - One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma.
What're the risk factors for insomnia? - The strongest risk factors for insomnia are psychiatric problems. Insomnia is more common in women than men.
What're the complications of insomnia? - Complications of insomnia include impaired mental functioning, accidents, mortality rates, stress and depression, heart disease, headaches.
What are the symptoms of insomnia? - Symptoms of insomnia can be different for each individual, and people with insomnia might experience a variety of symptoms.
How is insomnia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of insomnia is made by a physician based on the patient's reported signs and symptoms.
What's the treatment for insomnia? - Treatment of insomnia may involve treatment of the underlying medical disorder. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs.
Behavioral and non-drug treatment therapies for insomnia - Behavioral therapies are effective for insomnia. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia.
What prescription drugs are available for insomnia? - Rescription sleep medication may be required to cure insomnia. Various types of prescription medication include benzodiazepines, antidepressants.
What over-the-counter medications are available for insomnia? - Over-the-counter medications for insomnia include Nytol, Sleep-Eez, and Sominex. Antihistamines may be used as mild sleep inducers.
Does melatonin help to cure insomnia? - Melatonin, or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine, is a hormone produced by pinealocytes in the pineal gland. Melatonin may help certain older people with insomnia.
What natural insomnia remedies are available? - Many alternative treatments are effective in treating both the symptom of insomnia. Many people with insomnia choose herbal remedies for treating insomnia.
How to prevent insomnia? - Prevention of insomnia involves balance of rest, recreation and exercise in combination with stress management, regular physical examinations, and a healthy diet.