Kell West Regional Hospital

5420 Kell Blvd.

Wichita Falls, TX 76310

940-692-5888

 

© 2015 Kell West Regional Hospital

Insomnia

 

Insomnia symptoms include: difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, awakening too early, not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep, fatigue or low energy, unrefreshed sleep, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances such as irritability, behavior problems, difficulty at work, and difficulty with personal relationships.

 

Causes of insomnia include: stress, illness (e.g. depression, obesity, hypertension), overactive mind, lifestyle habits, menopause, and side-effects from medication.

 

Sleep is needed for the body to repair and replenish damaged cells due to stress and ultraviolet rays, to trigger hormones that regulate mood, energy and mental acuity, and for the mind to restore alertness and memory.  Adequate sleep is also necessary for the immune system to fight infections, support sugar metabolism, perform productively at work or school and maintain healthy relationships. Chronic insomnia can also lead to obesity, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In a nutshell, good sleep is not a luxury, although it has often become so in our 24/7 lifestyles; rather, it is an essential requirement for well-being, optimal functioning, and quality of life.

 

The duration of insomnia is important. Doctors consider insomnia chronic if it occurs at least three nights per week for three months or longer. At this point, your insomnia may be a behavioral pattern (for example, your nighttime routines do not cue your body for sleep, or your sleep schedule is out of sync with your biological clock), or it could be comorbid, meaning it is linked to another medical or psychiatric issue that needs to be addressed. Recently, researchers have begun to think about insomnia as a problem of your brain being unable to stop being awake. Your brain has a sleep cycle and a wake cycle—when one is turned on the other is turned off. Insomnia can be a problem with either part of this cycle: too much wake drive or too little sleep drive. Regardless of its cause, if insomnia has become a regular occurrence, talking to your doctor about treatment may be a good idea.