WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that occurs when you have a hard time falling asleep, or struggle to maintain sleep. Insomnia can not only drain your energy but it also affects your mood, health, work performance and quality of life.
There are 2 types of insomnia:
Primary Insomnia: Primary insomnia means your sleep problems are not caused by any medical or psychological disorders, disabilities, genetics or diseases, or by environmental factors (such as alcohol abuse, medication, work).
Secondary Insomnia: Secondary insomnia is a type of insomnia in which a person has trouble falling sleeping which can be caused by a health problem (such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer); pain; medicine that they are taking; or a drug that they are using (such as alcohol).
Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Complex sleep apnea syndrome occurs when a person suffers from both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Insomniacs suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up mid-sleep
- Waking up early
- Feeling tired after a night’s sleep
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention on tasks
HOW IS INSOMNIA DIAGNOSED?
Depending on your case, the diagnosis of insomnia and its cause can include:
Sleep diary: A sleep diary is a record of the sleeping and waking times of a person including relevant details, usually over a period of several weeks. It is either self-reported or can be registered by a caregiver. A sleep diary can be a valuable tool for diagnosing and treating, in particular, circadian sleep rhythm disorders and for tracking whether the treatment of these and other sleep disorders is successful.
Epworth sleep cycle scale (ESS): The Epworth Sleepiness Scale measures daytime sleepiness by means of a short questionnaire. The questionnaire asks the respondent to score his or her likelihood of falling asleep on a scale of increasing probability from 0 to 3 in eight different circumstances in which most people take part during their everyday lives. The scores for the questions are added up together.
A number in the range 0–9 is normal, while a number in the range 10–24 suggests that the patient should seek expert medical advice.
Polysomnogram: Polysomnography (PSG) is an analysis or examination performed when you’re asleep. Your doctor will track you while you sleep, collect data on your sleep patterns, and recognize any sleep disorders. The doctor will measure your brain waves, skeletal muscle activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing rate and eye movement to record data about your sleep patterns.
Actigraphy: Actigraphy is a non-invasive tool for tracking human rest / activity cycles. Actigraphs are small, wrist-worn instruments (about the size of a wristwatch) that measure gross motor activity.
Mental status exam: Insomnia might be due to depression, anxiety or any other mental disorders. And so, a doctor might perform a mental health exam to see if your insomnia is caused by a mental problem and what treatment would be needed to correct it.