What is insomnia?
- Insomnia is a difficulty in either falling sleep or staying asleep or both
What are the symptoms of insomnia?
- Most insomnia patients feel they cannot “switch off” when it is time to fall asleep and struggle to get a restful sleep.
- Some patients find they can get to sleep only to be woken up multiple times in the night resulting in an unrefreshed sleep.
What is the diagnosis for insomnia?
- Insomnia is diagnosed with history, clinical exam followed by sleep testing
- Sleep testing is done to see if there are sleep related issues that could be waking you up at night like sleep apnoea, restless legs or confusional arousals.
- A good history is required to find out if there are external factors like pain, difficulty in movement, external noise etc that may be waking you up
What is the treatments for insomnia?
- Insomnia is treated by finding the cause of the awakenings.
- Most often a cause is not found.
- Identifying post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, nightmares, night terrors and parasomnias that can disrupt your sleep is also important so that these can be addressed
- In this case it is a matter of optimising all sleep related causes that cause arousal and then joining a single or group therapy for cognitive behavioural therapy that would assess all your stressors and help unwind and get to sleep.
- The CBT also will give you tips on how to get back to sleep when you are woken up at night