The most common sleep disorder, insomnia is the perception of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following:
Trouble falling asleep
Frequent awakening during the night, along with difficulty returning to sleep
Early morning awakening
Sleep that is not refreshing
Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep and insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Insomnia can be classified as transient (short term), intermittent (on and off) and chronic (constant). Insomnia lasting from a single night to a few weeks is referred to as transient. If episodes of transient insomnia occur from time to time, the insomnia is said to be intermittent. Insomnia is considered to be chronic if it occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more.
Often due to stress, excitement, or life changes, insomnia usually appears and disappears with the related event or stress. Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occurs in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following:
Environmental noise or extreme temperature
Change in the surrounding environment
Sleep/wake schedule problems such as those due to jet lag
Medication side effects
One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, Parkinson's disease and hyperthyroidism.
In addition, the following behaviors have been shown to perpetuate insomnia in some people:
Expecting to have difficulty sleeping and worrying about it
Ingesting excessive amounts of caffeine
Drinking alcohol before bedtime
Smoking cigarettes before bedtime
Excessive napping in the afternoon or evening
Irregular or continually disrupted sleep/wake schedules
Who is affected?
Almost everyone experiences trouble getting to sleep at some time or another. However, certain conditions such as age, gender and medical history seem to make individuals more likely to experience insomnia than others. Advanced age and a history of depression are contributing factors to insomnia and women are more prone to insomnia than men.
How is it evaluated?
There are many different Medical and Health Care professionals that evaluate and treat insomnia. Insomnia can be assessed by meeting with a Sleep Psychologist. Daniel J. Wachtel, Psy D, meets individually with his patients and assists them with gaining a better understanding of their insomnia and developing an individualized treatment plan to reduce symptoms and improve sleep..
Persistent or chronic insomnia is more serious and may need treatment. A physician experienced in sleep disorders can help a patient regain a normal sleep pattern, or identify other underlying sleep disorders. A Sleep Psychologist can help a patient by using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), a proven and effective behavioral treatment for insomnia.
Please call 404-723-5633 to schedule an appointment.