You have probably heard the term thrown around from time to time; however, what exactly IS insomnia? Well, insomnia is a very common sleeping disorder, most often attributed to waking a lot during the night, trying to sleep but laying awake for hours, and the feeling you haven’t slept at all. This lack of quality sleep can lead to many other problems throughout the day, such as fatigue, low energy or trouble focusing or thinking clearly. This in itself can lead to depression or irritability. The actual “term” insomnia is defined as “constant poor quality sleep that leads to diminishing function during the day.” Insomnia is classified as either minor or severe, or short-term versus chronic. Chronic insomnia is specifically measured as sleeping problems for more than 3 nights a week for a duration of over one month.
It is an unfortunate truth; women are more likely to have symptoms of insomnia than men. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can affect sleep as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and even menopause in general. During pregnancy, a number of factors can directly attribute or cause insomnia, including but not limited to: cramping, general discomfort and the need to use the bathroom.
Lifestyle changes are most often the best cure of insomnia; however, sometimes medication is also used to help fight the symptoms. Things that you can try to help get a better night’s sleep include going to bed at the same time every night, making to-do lists before bed so you don’t spend time obsessing over things you need to do (Although , trust me, I know this is easier said than done.), and following a routine to relax and unwind before bed, such as reading a book twenty minutes before bed every night. These helpful hints, as well as discussing problems and ideas with your physician, can help make your nights much more enjoyable and thus the time you spend awake happier and less stressful and tedious.