What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Insomnia?

An inability to fall asleep or stay asleep can make you feel tired and irritable the next day and deprive you of the rest you need to function well.

In this blog, sleep specialist Dr. Samit Malhotra, will explain the most common symptoms of insomnia.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by the inability to fall or stay asleep.

In some cases, insomnia lasts for a brief period of time and can be tied to temporary circumstances in your life. For example, if you’re worried about a presentation you’ll be giving at work later in the week, you may have trouble falling asleep for a few nights. When of a short duration and tied to a direct yet temporary cause, it is classified as acute insomnia. It may resolve itself without treatment.

In other cases, however, insomnia becomes chronic and persists for at least three nights a week for a period of at least three months. Many factors, including unhealthy sleep habits, depression and anxiety, or pain and discomfort, can cause chronic insomnia. It can also be linked to other ailments and insomnia symptoms that interfere with your daily quality of life.

What are some common insomnia symptoms?

Insomnia symptoms can affect your overall well-being and can include the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning and have trouble falling back to sleep
  • Feeling sleepy and tired throughout the day
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Feeling unrested or groggy when you wake up
  • Worrying, especially about sleep

How is insomnia diagnosed?

A sleep specialist can diagnose insomnia by talking to you about your symptoms as well as your medical history, including any medicines you take. He or she can also conduct a physical exam to look for conditions that could be causing or contributing to your insomnia.

You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary that details when you fall asleep and when you wake up, as well as how you feel the next day. In order to get specific data about how you’re sleeping and what’s happening to your body during the night, your doctor may suggest a sleep study. This non-invasive test can be conducted in a sleep lab or at home, and you’ll wear monitors that transmit data to a machine for your doctor to interpret.

What are the treatment options for insomnia?

The following are some types of treatment that can be recommended, and you may be asked to try one of them or a combination of treatments:

  • Improving your sleep habits: This can include going to bed at the same time every night; following a relaxing nighttime routine; avoiding heavy meals late in the day; and avoiding the use of electronic devices close to bedtime.
  • Other lifestyle changes: Stopping smoking, getting exercise, losing excess weight if you need to and avoiding alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption may help.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi): This type of treatment may involve seeing a behavioral sleep psychologist and also includes an evaluation of your sleep habits. Depending on your needs, you may receive help with strategies that include sleep scheduling recommendations, stimulus control therapy, or relaxation training.
  • Medical management: Your doctor may prescribe FDA-approved medications to help treat your insomnia. There are short-acting medicines available that can help you avoid side effects such as feeling drowsy the next day.
  • Treatment of any underlying health issues: If you have an underlying health issue or medications that you take that is causing or contributing to your insomnia, you may need to be treated for this.

If you’re experiencing insomnia symptoms, make an appointment today with Sleep & Neuroscience Associates. Dr. Samit Malhotra is a sleep medicine specialist who has over 16 years of experience in diagnosing and treating sleep-related disorders, including insomnia. He is fellowship trained in sleep medicine and will be able to diagnose your condition, determine any underlying causes, and help you get a restful night’s sleep

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