What causes transient insomnia (short term insomnia)?
Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation in a person's life, such as a stressful event, environmental disturbances such as noise or extreme temperatures (you feel too hot or too cold), disruption of normal sleep/wake cycle, from jet lag or caring for a newborn, for example, side effects of certain medications (like some cough and cold
medications). When the situation is resolved or the precipitating factor disappears, the condition goes away, usually without medical treatment.
A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and transient insomnia. This condition is sometimes referred to as adjustment sleep disorder. The precipitating factor could be a traumatic event such as acute illness, injury or surgery, or the loss of a loved one, or it could be a minor event, including extremes in weather, an exam, traveling, or trouble at work. In such cases, normal sleep almost always returns when the individual recovers from the event or becomes acclimated to the new situation.
Air travel across time zones often causes insomnia. After long plane trips, one day of adjustment is usually needed for each time zone crossed. Traveling west, to earlier times, seems to be less traumatic than going east to a later time, because it is easier to lengthen a circadian phase than to shorten it.
People on night shifts or on schedules of two- and three-shifts tended to suffer more from sleep-related problems, including insomnia, than those on day shifts. The internal clocks do not adjust to unusual work times. They are also at much higher risk than other workers for automobile accidents due to their drowsiness. The excessive computer work might be associated with all forms of insomnia. People who were overinvolved with their work tended to have trouble falling asleep and they tended to awaken earlier than average.
Caffeine most commonly disrupts sleep. One or two alcoholic drinks at dinner poses little danger of alcoholism and may help reduce stress and initiate sleep. Excess alcohol or alcohol used to promote sleep, however, tends to fragment sleep and cause wakefulness a few hours later. It also increases the risk for other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and restless legs.
Insomnia is a side effect of many common medications, including over-the-counter preparations that contain caffeine. People who suspect their medications are causing them to lose sleep should check with a physician or pharmacist.
Light, noise, and uncomfortable temperatures caused their sleeplessness. It is well known that a person's biologic circadian clock is triggered by sunlight and very bright artificial light to maintain wakefulness. Even dim artificial light may disrupt sleep. A change in the environmental factors such as noise, as stated in the first category could also contribute to transient insomnia.
Women who are pregnant may suffer from insomnia because of hormone changes, worries about the upcoming birth or a more frequent need to urinate. In addition, the unborn baby's increasing size often makes it harder for the mother to find a comfortable sleeping position. Occasional episodes of insomnia are also fairly common in people older than age 60, although the precise reason for this remains unknown.
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.