When you’re not getting sleep at night, it affects the rest of your life. A few sleepless nights here and there is normal, but if you’re struggling to sleep just about every night, it could be a bigger problem. Insomnia is a condition that disrupts your sleep pattern, and it can lead to other serious issues as well.
At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, our team helps you determine if insomnia is causing your sleep problems. Our team is led by three board-certified psychiatrists: Dr. Elizabeth Bullard, Dr. Brian Moore, and Dr. Allison Foroobar. They offer many different treatment options for your insomnia, so you can finally get a good night's rest.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder that either makes it difficult for you to get to sleep, or makes it nearly impossible for you to stay asleep. This condition also affects your sleep cycle, sometimes waking you up in the middle of the night and not allowing you to get back to sleep.
With this condition, you might wake up feeling very tired, like you didn’t get any sleep at all. It may interfere with your work, along with your quality of life. Insomnia often affects your overall wellbeing as well, including your mood and the amount of energy you have throughout the day.
Insomnia is caused by many different circumstances, including medical conditions and lifestyle choices. For example, you may experience insomnia if you change shifts at your job, or if you have jet lag from a trip. However, there are many other reasons you have this disorder, including:
- Drug use
- Not enough exercise
- Restless leg syndrome
- Night terrors
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic pain
According to the CDC, adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night; however, that varies from person to person. You might feel great with seven hours of sleep, or you may need more like nine to feel normal. Insomnia, though, makes it difficult to get any kind of restful sleep, which may lead to complications with your health.
Complications of insomnia
Although not getting enough sleep doesn’t seem very harmful, it actually can affect your health over a period of time. Sometimes, insomnia is short-term due to a stressful event, but if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than a few weeks, you could be dealing with chronic insomnia:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking up too early
- Trouble focusing
Untreated insomnia may also lead to things like car accidents, because you’re so sleep-deprived. But there are many other issues that could arise, including an increased risk for mental health disorders and other health conditions. Some of the complications of untreated insomnia include:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
Insomnia affects other parts of your life as well, including your social life and your work life. You could experience confusion, along with memory issues and judgement problems. This may lead to a slew of other concerns, which could be hazardous to your health. Getting the proper treatment for this disorder helps eliminate those concerns.
Treatment that helps
Even though suffering with insomnia may seem hopeless, our team offers many treatments that let you finally get a good night’s rest. Treatment often involves a mix of lifestyle changes and cognitive therapy to get your sleep back on schedule. Our team also may suggest treatment for underlying conditions that could be contributing to your insomnia.
Because this disorder is sometimes caused by your lifestyle, changing your sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene, is very helpful in treating insomnia. Some key factors in good sleep hygiene include:
- Don’t nap
- Have a consistent bedtime
- Use a comfortable mattress
- Decrease screen time
- Don’t watch TV in the bedroom
You also don’t want to eat or drink anything within a few hours of your bedtime, as this can wake you up at night to use the bathroom. These lifestyle changes may be all you need, but sometimes you need more. This is where talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can help. This type of therapy helps you learn to relax, with interventions like:
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Breathing exercises
Our team also helps you to restructure your thoughts about sleep, as intrusive thoughts may be one of the causes of your insomnia. Along with good sleep hygiene, therapy could be just what you need to finally get some restful sleep.
When you’re tired of struggling from sleepless nights, call Carolina Wellness Psychiatry at 919-446-3232, or request an appointment using our online booking tool.