Insomnia / Sleep Disorders

What is insomnia?

Insomnia refers to a condition where it is difficult to fall asleep or when sleeping through the night is not possible. There are three basic types of insomnia - episodic when the condition lasts for a few days, disappears and then returns; short term when the insomnia lasts for up to three weeks; and chronic when the condition lasts for over three weeks.

Causes

Insomnia can result from one or a combination of the following causes:

  • Anxiety, mental stress, and depression
  • Mental problems such as bipolar disorder
  • Physical pain, discomfort, and other medical conditions
  • Irregular sleeping habits and daytime napping
  • Too much light or noise which affects sleep
  • Working night shifts
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs
  • Smoking and excessive caffeine consumption
  • Prescription and OTC medications, herbal and food supplements
  • Lying in bed watching TV or using a computer

Who is at risk?

Insomnia affects all age groups and ethnicities. However, the incidence is more common among adult women than in the case of men. The chances of suffering from a sleep disorder increases with age. Those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug dependency, mental disorders, and lack of adequate exercise have the greatest risk of suffering from insomnia.

Symptoms

While difficulty in falling asleep is the most obvious symptom of insomnia, there are many others which indicate the existence of the condition. Among the most common are:

  • Not feeling refresh when waking up
  • Waking up frequently at night
  • Unusual lethargy or sleepiness during the day
  • An inability to focus or concentrate
  • Impaired motor skills such as problems in operating mechanical devices or driving
  • Increased irritability

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of insomnia can be associated with numerous other conditions, Dr. Borenstein will conduct a thorough examination of to determine the existence of the condition and the type of insomnia. This will include asking about snoring, recent weight gain, lifestyle and sleeping habits, alcohol and recreational / prescription / over-the-counter drug use and examination of the sleeping habits of a bed partner. If a detailed medical history is available, this will assist in the diagnosis.