Everyone has trouble sleeping on occasion, but if the issue becomes chronic, resulting in daytime drowsiness or interfering with normal routines, it may be insomnia. People with insomnia may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or may experience wakefulness during the night. Many people with insomnia wake up earlier than intended, resulting in less sleep than needed to refresh the body or sleep that’s of poor quality.
In addition to having trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep, insomnia can cause:
People with insomnia are also more prone to illness and depression, and their immune systems are weaker than those who get normal amounts of restorative sleep.
Insomnia treatment begins with a thorough examination and a personal and family health history to determine possible causes. Lab tests or a sleep study may also be ordered. Some sleep disorders are related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious condition that causes breathing to be interrupted many times during sleep - periods so brief, the sleeper may not know it’s happening. Once insomnia is diagnosed, treatment will focus on addressing any underlying causes, including hormonal imbalances that become much more common with age, pain issues and other potential causes. People with obstructive sleep apnea may need to have CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a therapeutic option that uses a mask to deliver a continual stream of air to help keep the airways open during sleep. Most patients benefit from a combination of medical treatment and lifestyle changes aimed at supporting healthy sleep habits. Each treatment plan will be carefully customized to suit the individual patient’s needs for optimal results.
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