Insomnia or sleep disorders can affect every facet of your life. Patients with insomnia have impaired daytime function due to many forms of insomnia: difficulty initiating sleep/ maintaining sleep, or poor quality sleep. By definition, insomnia occurs despite having adequate time and opportunity for sleep.
7% of adults have insomnia each year, more common in women than men. Patients may have a previous episode of insomnia, a family history of insomnia, a predisposition toward being more easily aroused from sleep, poorer self-rated health, or feel more body pain.
As a physician I investigate for co-existing problems: medical, psychiatric, neurologic, pulmonary problems. . . or medication side effects.
What should you do?
Honor your circadian rhythm. Go to bed and rise the same time–regardless if it is a weekend. (Those who work the night shift have an especially difficult time.) Good sleep hygiene includes
- maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- no alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine intake before bedtime
- no mentally or physically stimulating activities at bedtime
- using bed for sex or sleep only
- keeping bedroom dark, cool and quiet
Discuss with your doctor any medications you are taking, as blood pressure medications, antidepressants or diet pills are known to cause insomnia.
If your mind races, talk to your doctor about anxiety symptoms. Keep a notebook by your bedside to write down thoughts which may seem to keep you awake.