INSOMNIA IS CHARACTERISED BY ANY OR A COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING:
• Trouble falling asleep at night.
• Lying awake for long periods of time.
• Waking several times during the night with trouble going back to sleep.
• Waking up early and unable to get back to sleep.
People with insomnia complain of feeling tired and sleepy the next day. Their mood is affected. For example, they get irritable, easily angered, feel down where mood is concerned, worry excessively with difficulty relaxing. On top of this, they are not able to concentrate on their work or study and will often complain of forgetfulness.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF INSOMNIA?
Insomnia can be caused by physical and/or psychological factors.
Physical factors include disruptions in circadian rhythm (biological clock), for example, from jet lag, job shift, environmental noise, and weather changes (extreme heat or cold).
Psychological factors include signiﬁcant life stressors (such as loss of a job, change of job, death of loved ones, even moving house and exams). Depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders or schizophrenia can also cause a person to have difficulty sleeping. Medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, arthritis, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, or even hormonal change during menstruation, or chronic low back pain can lead to insomnia.
Sometimes, taking substances such as coffee or tea can cause someone to be wide awake at night. Other factors include sleeping next to a snoring person, having an overactive mind that is unable to relax at night.
Insomnia disorder is a speciﬁc DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) diagnosis given to individuals who experience recurrent poor sleep quality or quantity that causes distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
To make a diagnosis of insomnia disorder, some of the criteria that need to be met include unhappiness with the quality or quantity of sleep, signiﬁcant distress or impairment in functioning, with difficulty sleeping occurring at least three times a week and is present for at least three months.