Insomnia can be divided into two types which are acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia is a short-term insomnia which happens 1-2 nights per week, and last for less than 3 months. On the other hand, having sleeping problem more than three nights a week for longer than 3 months is considered chronic insomnia.
At the beginning, most people experience acute insomnia first. If insomnia is controllable and does not affect everyday life, consulting with the physician is not necessary. However, once insomnia affects daily routine activities and causes problems such as headache, short-tempered, poor concentration and poor work performance, consult the doctor is recommended to figure out the root cause, and plan the treatment accordingly. If left untreated, chronic insomnia can affect both physical and mental health.
The cause of Insomnia
There are three direct causes of insomnia that is not related to medical conditions
- Psychological conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression
- Hormone imbalance, certain hormones level may affect sleeping pattern such as DHEA or low level of happy hormone, higher level of cortisol or stress hormone
- Environment factor including bedroom environment or using mobile phone before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones restrains the production of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep.
Assessment and Evaluation
Insomnia screening begins with history-taking followed by blood and urine exam to check hormones level. This evaluation is performed to rule out other medical conditions that might be causing insomnia. If insomnia is not associated with medical conditions, the doctor will consider mental health, hormones balance, and others factors such as diet, exercise and sleeping habits.
For hormones check, the doctor orders blood tests to check DHEA and Cortisol hormones which are related to emotional state, as well as Growth Hormone. When these hormones are out of balances, it can affect our sleep.
Apart from hormones check, urine exam will be performed to measure vitamin level, in case certain vitamins are too high or too low, adding some vitamins or supplements such as Magnesium, GABA, Vitamin B6, L-Tryptophan or Melatonin can help us sleep better.
Is sleeping pill is good solution for sleep disorders?
Sleeping pill can be used to treat insomnia, but we should not take it continuously more than 1-3 months, because when we stop taking sleeping pill, falling asleep will be more difficult. Therefore, every time you would like to stop taking medications or adjust the dose of sleeping pills, consult with the doctor. The key is to find the cause of insomnia so that appropriate treatment can be provided.
Lifestyle changes should be done together with the medical treatment
To help overcome insomnia, lifestyle changes should be focused together with treatment of hormones in the case of hormone imbalance that occurs from obesity. Maintain a healthy weight, control insulin and control the diet. Food significantly affects sleeping, refraining from eating at least 3 hours before bedtime. Avoid tea, coffee or caffeinated beverage at least 6 hours before bedtime. Also, avoid spicy foods that stimulate the production of certain hormones that make us awake and make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
In term of exercise, many people believe that high-intensity exercise enables us to sleep better; this is not completely true since after exercise, adrenaline is released which make us feel more alert and makes it hard for us to go to sleep. As a result, avoid exercise 3 hours before bedtime or change to exercise in the morning instead.
Prevention of Insomnia
To prevent insomnia, you should maintain DHEA hormone in an appropriate level from activities such as praying, reading or listening to music before going to bed. Adjust lighting and room temperature for the best sleep which is not more than 27 degrees Celsius. Several odors can help us relax and the important thing is to avoid doing anything stressful before going to bed.
You may find our specialist here at Internal Medicine Center, Phyathai 2 Hospital
Phyathai 2 Hospital
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