Dr. Parth Bansal

Dr.Parth Bansal

Having Trouble Falling Asleep, Know These Causes and Treatment Strategies

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep.

The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic)

What are the common causes of Insomnia?

    • Stress and anxiety

    • A poor sleeping environment – such as an uncomfortable bed, or a bedroom that’s too light, noisy, hot or cold

    • Mental health conditions – such as depression and anxiety

    • Certain medicines – such as some antidepressants, epilepsy medicines and steroid medication

    • Lifestyle factors – such as jet lag, shift work, or drinking alcohol or caffeine before going to bed

    • Physical health conditions – such as heart problems, other sleep disorders and long-term pain

What are the complications of Insomnia?

Lack of adequate sleep can lead to – 

    • Depression.

    • Anxiety.

    • High blood pressure (hypertension).

    • Heart attack.

    • Stroke.

    • Obstructive sleep apnea.

    • Type 2 diabetes.

    • Obesity.
    • Psychosis.

What are the common measures that can be taken to treat insomnia?

    • Setting regular times for going to bed and waking up

    • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and exercise for a few hours before going to bed

    • Relaxing before bed time – try taking a warm bath or listening to calming music

    • Using thick curtains or blinds, an eye mask and earplugs to stop you being woken up by light and noise

    • Not watching TV or using phones, tablets or computers shortly before going to bed 

    • Not napping during the day

    • Writing a list of your worries, and any ideas about how to solve them, before going to bed to help you forget about them until the morning

    • Medications that help you fall or stay asleep (especially ones that aren’t habit-forming or that might otherwise affect your sleep). 

             Common medications used are — 

  • Benzodiazepines
  • “Z-drugs”: eg Zolpidem 
  • Dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs): Orexin is a wake-promoting chemical in your brain. Blocking orexin helps make you sleepy. Examples include lemborexant and daridorexant.
  • Antiseizure medications: These include gabapentin and pregabalin, which can help with conditions like restless leg syndrome, which can keep you awake.
  • Sedating antidepressants: These include tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) drugs like doxepin and amitriptyline, and trazodone.
  • Melatonin and related drugs: Melatonin is a chemical your brain uses that tells you it’s time to go to sleep. It can come in prescription strength. There are also synthetic analogues like ramelteon.

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