People with sleep deprivation or insomnia try hard to go to sleep and the harder they try, the more difficult it becomes to fall sleep. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and its sleeplessness symptoms are a dead giveaway of its diagnosis.

If you fall asleep, you may wake up too early and may lie for hours trying to go back to sleep unsuccessfully. Insomnia can and does reduce the mental and physical performance of the person.

Insomnia can be acute, which lasts for a short duration or it can be chronic in which case the sleep disorder lasts for a longer duration and which may need medical intervention.

Insomnia is not just a symptom. It is a health condition that needs to be corrected because it can have serious health complications on the body.

There are various reasons that cause you to spend sleepless nights. Some of them are primary and can be corrected immediately. Other causes could be due to certain health conditions that may need medical intervention.  

Symptoms and signs of insomnia are often enough to diagnose that the person is suffering from this sleep disorder, but specific tests may be required to diagnose an underlying pathology if suspected. Overall, however, insomnia can be cured.

Symptoms and signs

  • Difficulty in falling off to sleep is the main insomnia symptom
  • Depending on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep
  • Feeling tired, irritable and sleepy during the next day
  • Malaise – feeling unwell
  • Not feeling fresh the next morning when you wake up
  • Waking up several times during the night
  • Lack of concentration, lack of energy and loss of performance at work during the day
  • Headaches and anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Stomach upset problems
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Motor vehicle accidents caused by mental fatigue due to sleep deprivation
  • Poor socializing

Diagnosis and Tests for Insomnia

The sleep specialist, who is an expert in sleep medicine, is one who treats the patients of insomnia. He begins by checking the person’s symptoms and thoroughly taking the medical history.  He also physically examines the patient.  

The medical history will help to rule out any emotional stress or any chronic illness or any medication he is taking that may be disturbing the patient’s sleep.

The specialist may also ask for certain blood tests to rule out certain medical causes such as an over-active thyroid gland, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney diseases, etc.

If he suspects, he may ask for a reference from a psychiatrist to rule out mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc.

The sleep specialist may order polysomnography, which is an overnight sleep study, to rule out sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

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