Insomnia is the inability to sleep during a period in which sleep should normally occur. Sufficient and restful sleep is a human necessity. The average adult needs slightly more than eight hours of sleep per day and only 35% of American adults consistently get this amount of rest. People with insomnia tend to experience one or more of the following sleep disturbances: (1) difficulty falling asleep at night, (2) waking too early in the morning, or (3) waking frequently throughout the night. Insomnia may stem from a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm, an internal clock that governs the timing of hormone production, sleep, body temperature, and other functions. While occasional restless nights are often normal, prolonged insomnia can interfere with daytime function, and may impair concentration, diminish memory, and increase the risk of substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents, headaches, and depression. Recent surveys indicate that at least one out of three people in the United States have insomnia, but only 20% bring it to the attention of their healthcare providers.
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of insomnia include:
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Inability to sleep despite being tired
- Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and impaired ability to perform normal activities
- Anxiety as bedtime approaches
Insomnia is occasionally a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological condition, but it may also be caused by stress (from work, school, or family) or lifestyle choices, such as excessive coffee and alcohol consumption. About 50% of insomnia cases have no identifiable cause.
Some conditions or situations that commonly lead to insomnia include:
- Substance abuse – consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs, or certain prescription medications; smoking can cause restlessness and smoking cessation may also result in temporary insomnia
- Disruption of circadian rhythms – shift work, travel across time zones, or vision loss; circadian rhythms are regulated, in part, by release of melatonin from the brain
- Menopause – between 30% and 40% of menopausal women experience insomnia; this may be due to hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, and/or fluctuations in hormones
- Hormonal changes during menstrual cycle – insomnia may occur during menstruation; sleep improves mid-cycle with ovulation
- Advanced age – biological changes associated with aging, underlying medical conditions, and side effects from medications all contribute to insomnia
- Medical conditions – gastroesophageal reflux (return of stomach contents into the esophagus; frequently causes heartburn), fibromyalgia or other chronic pain syndromes, heart disease, arthritis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea (difficulty breathing during sleep)
- Psychiatric and neurologic conditions – anxiety, depression, manic-depressive disorder, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome (a sense of indescribable uneasiness, twitching, or restlessness that occurs in the legs after going to bed), post-traumatic stress disorder
- Certain medications – decongestants, bronchodilators, and beta-blockers
- Excessive computer work
- Partners who snore
Integrative Medicine Treatment Options
We combine the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary and alternative therapies to give you optimal results.
Here are some options we use at Alliance Integrative Medicine LOCATED IN Cincinnati, Ohio
- Herbal Therapies, Supplements & Medication
- Mind/Body Relaxation Techniques
- Energy Healing
- Medical Massage Therapy
Our insomnia patients come to us from Mason, Indian Hill, Hyde Park, Loveland and Westchester/Liberty Township as well as Terrace Park, Blue Ash, Finneytown, Reading, Springdale and from locations all over the U.S.