Dangers of Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is not a new phenomenon. In fact, documentation dates back to fifth-century Persia. Today, millions suffer from the condition. According to Brazilian sleep specialist Rubens Reimão, an estimated 35 percent of the world's population have some form of insomnia.

Dr. David Rapoport of the New York University Sleep Disorders Center described sleeping badly as "one of the most serious epidemics of the turn of the century."

What is Chronic Sleeplessness or Insomnia?

The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep characterizes insomnia. Many people experience occasional bouts of sleeplessness. Yet, long-term insomnia is much more serious than an inconvenient or a random lack of sleep over a short period of time. Sleeplessness becomes "chronic" if suffered for longer than a month. longer.

Chronic sleeplessness is a serious condition that can comprise your health, mood, work performance, energy level, and ability to think clearly and cope. Though it’s a disorder all its own, insomnia is often a symptom of some other concerning disease or condition.

Professor Elio Lugaresi, neurologist with the University of Bologna Medical School in Italy, explained that chronic insomnia affects the thalamus, a cerebral nerve circuit that passes messages between the brain and the body. When communications are interrupted, the brain center acts like a motor that cannot be switched off. Lugaresi also links genetics to this scenario. 

What Causes Long-term Insomnia? 

Each individual is unique but these four main reasons make up the bulk of the source of this unpleasant disorder):

  • Medical heart and digestive conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, restless leg disorder, asthma; Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
  • Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stressdisorder
  • Environmental: light, noise, heat, cold, uncomfortable mattress, restless mate
  • Other Causes: alcohol and drug abuse, side effects of some drugs including benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines

Addressing Your Insomnia

If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor right away. Identifying the root of your sleep issue is essential to proper treatment.

In addition to talking with you and conducting a medical exam, your doctor may request that you keep a sleep diary that tracks your sleep issues. He or she may also order a polysomnogram or sleep study to further determine the cause of your insomnia.

To treat your insomnia, your doctor may recommend specific medication; relaxation and cognitive/behavioral therapies; lifestyle changes; and/or adjusting your sleep time, habits and environment. For more information about help with insomnia, click here: insomnia treatment tips.


More about Chronic Insomnia
Facts About Insomnia
Insomnia Test
Sleep Resources

› Chronic Insomnia

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Published by Jules Sowder






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