Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where an individual is unable to fall or remain asleep satisfactorily or even both. Characteristics of insomnia include; lack of rest, reduced sleeping time, disturbed or lack of sleep. Poor quality sleep can be perceived as a result of difficulties in falling asleep, high frequency of waking up during the night making it difficulty to return to sleep and complete failure to fall asleep (Lacks & Morin 586).
Insomnia can not be regarded as a disease. However, it is classified depending on the duration of time it occurs. Insomnia is classified into two: acute and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia lasts for a short time and it occurs in two types; transient and short term insomnia. There are two types of chronic insomnia: primary chronic insomnia and secondary chronic insomnia (Lacks & Morin 586).
Causes of insomnia can be classified into two; factors contributing to acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Stress is one of the factors which can interfere with sleep. Stress may be as a result of loss of a loved one, change of job or losing a job. Health problems are perceived to cause insomnia.
These problems include ulcers and diabetes. Lack of physical or emotional comfort can contribute to acute insomnia (Lacks & Morin 586). An example of emotional discomfort is anger or anxiety. Environmental factors can interfere with normal sleep. For example, extreme heat or cold, noise and light. Interfering with normal sleeping routine can also cause insomnia because of altering with body clock.
Chronic insomnia can be as a result of emotional stress. It can be difficult for the mind to rest when an individual is thinking about the affairs of life. Abusing substance can contribute to the occurrence of chronic insomnia. For example, high blood pressure drugs can cause insomnia (Lacks & Morin 586).
Taking substances with caffeine and nicotine also can interfere with sleep. Alteration of normal body routines can cause chronic insomnia. These activities include irregular sleeping patterns like partying till late at night and extended siesta time. Lastly, environmental factors can contribute to chronic insomnia. Extreme heat or cold, too much light and noise have a great impact on sleep (Lacks & Morin 586).
Insomnia is more common with women and older adults. Change imbalance in hormones when a woman is pregnant or having menstrual period can interfere with sleep. After giving birth women tend to have less sleep because of the noise produced by babies (Lacks & Morin 586).
Older adults have difficult in getting and maintaining a good sleep. It also noted that they tend to wake up very early (Lacks & Morin 586). The exact cause of the sleeping difficulties is unclear. Alteration of normal body routines change as an individual grows old thus causing them to wake up frequently.
The main treatment for insomnia is behavioral therapy which includes activities like exercising regularly, meditation and breathing and relaxation techniques. Regular exercise helps the body to relax, and improves the quality of sleep by reducing stress and worries of life. Exercise increases stimulation of the body during the day thus making the body relax at night (Lacks & Morin 586). Afternoon or evening jogging is recommended.
It is also advisable to exercise 3 or4 times in a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Walking is also highly recommended because it enhances heartbeat rate and impacts on lung capacity. Breathing and relaxation techniques ease stress and enhance relaxation. Deep and slow breathing helps the body relax especially the chest, shoulders and the arms (Lacks & Morin 586). Lastly, meditation helps in promotion of relaxation. It reduces anxiety and stress because it encourages positive thoughts (Lacks & Morin 586).
Lacks, Paul. & Morin, Charles. “Recent advances in the assessment and treatment of insomnia.”Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2002: 586. Print.