Insomnia could be the hallmark of major depression
As quoted by the New York Times:
“Americans are taking sleeping pills like never before. About 42 million sleeping pills prescriptions where filled last year”.” More sleeping pills are used in the United States as a result of our modern day lifestyle”.” Careful investigation and history are needed to overcome this problem”
What causes Insomnia?
Insomnia is a result of another problem and has a wide variety of causes including.
Some people are more predisposed genetically. This together with a precipitating event such as loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or other major life events could lead to insomnia. Some people turn to the following in order to deal with these stresses, which are non productive.
- Use of stimulants: As caffeine, nicotine and some over the counter medications can alter sleep if chronically used
- Alcohol: The majority thinks that it helps people to sleep. Yes, it makes you fall asleep, but it also makes you sleep more broken throughout the night.
- Other factors: This could include erratic work hours, shift work, periodic leg movement, GERD, inactive behavior, a quiet lifestyle or misuse or overuse of sleeping pills.
What is sleep and why do we sleep?
Sleep is a phenomenon that needs to take place to pay a debt accumulated during the day. There are several research theories to why we sleep ranging from temperature regulation and immune system protection to brain energy restoration. Sleep is a complex phenomenon with many neurotransmitters regulating it and keeping it checked to assure adequate body function during sleep as well as awakening.
What is the impact of insomnia on your daily life and activity?
If you have not slept well, during the day you will experience:
- Decreased energy
- Poor memory
- Poor intellectual functions Fine,
- complex functions are impaired
- Mood alteration
- Decreased productivity
- Increased use of stimulants such as coffee and tea, that will later affect your heart and disturb your sleep even more
During the night you will experience:
- Increased frustration
- Decreased intimacy to loved ones
- Increased worry about the next day’s responsibilities
- Months and years of this problem could result in loss of job, relationships and depression.
Does everyone who has difficulty sleeping have insomnia?
No, this is simply not true. Sleep misperception is an entity where an individual believes he or she is not sleeping well despite a good adequate sleep time on a sleep study. Therefore, history taking and a sleep study can better outline true versus false insomnia.
When should you seek help?
If your sleep has been disturbed for more than one month and it has affected your daily performance or your current job.
How we can help you?
A sleep specialist will perform a full history & examination to outline all possible predisposing and precipitating factors. Then a sleep study and/or actigraphy (a device used to evaluate the pattern and duration of your sleep) will be done. Once that is complete a treatment plan will be directed according to our findings.