Sleep disorder problems

Insomnia Definition:

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in adults that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep for adequate hours even though the environment is good and the time is right. People with insomnia often feel dissatisfied with their sleep and inadequate sleep hours. It may affect many people and in most cases ends without treatment. Many people think that insomnia is normal with the stresses of life, but it is important to take it seriously because it is closely related to physical health.


Transient insomnia: It is sleep disorders which last for a short period.

Chronic Insomnia: It is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months.


Insomnia can be a symptom of another problem, the causes of chronic insomnia include:

  • Psychological factors:
  • Anxiety and tension.
  • Stress.
  • Psychological trauma.
  • Depression.
  • Sleep pattern and environment:
  • Travel.
  • Changes in work hours (shifts), and night duty even at home.
  • Siesta (may cause insomnia for some people).
  • Inappropriate sleeping environment.
  • Eating heavy meal late in the evening, which may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable or experience gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Caffeine such as coffee and others.
  • Nicotine (smoking).
  • Medical Conditions:
  • Respiratory problems (such as: asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • Muscle and joint problems (such as: arthritis).
  • Chronic pains.

Some types of medications:


  • Difficulty falling asleep at night.
  • Waking up during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep.
  • Waking up too early.
  • Feeling unrefreshed upon waking.
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness.
  • Mental disorders (such as: difficulty concentrating).
  • Mood swings.
  • Problems at work or school.
  • Social problems.

When to see a doctor?

  • If insomnia affects your lifestyle.
  • Feeling tiredness and sluggishness.
  • If insomnia limits your productivity and enjoying companionship of your friends and family or hobbies.
  • Failure to adjust your sleep pattern.


  • There is no definitive test for insomnia. Doctors use many different tools to diagnose insomnia:
  • Personal history.
  • Sleep log and questionnaires.
  • Lab tests: blood tests to rule out insomnia associated with some medications and health problems.
  • Sleep planning.
  • These tests to help your doctor develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Risk Factors:

  • Mental disorders and stress and anxiety.
  • Failure to adjust sleep times.
  • Most vulnerable categories:
  • Women.
  • Older adults (over age 60).
  • Having a chronic disease.


  • Low quality of public life
  • Poor physical performance.
  • Negative impact on social performance.
  • Low job performance.
  • Mental health disorders.
  • Increased rate of diseases associated with mental diseases in patients with chronic insomnia.


Non-Medical Treatment: There are psychological and behavioral techniques that can be helpful for treating insomnia such as:

Relaxing training: (Breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation techniques, and guided imagery and listening to audio recordings), they can work to help you fall asleep and also return to sleep in the middle of the night.

Stimulus Control: It helps to build an association between the bedroom and sleep by limiting the type of activities allowed in the bedroom, they include: Arranging the bed room, using comfortable bed, limiting time in bed and getting out of bed if you’ve been awake for 20 minutes or more.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Includes behavioral changes (such as keeping a regular bedtime and wake up time, and eliminating afternoon naps) but it adds a cognitive or “thinking” component. CBT works to challenge unhealthy beliefs and fears around sleep and teach rational, positive thinking.

Medical Treatments: There are many different types of sleep aids for insomnia, and it is important to consult with a doctor before taking a sleep aid, and in the event other methods are unsuccessful.


  • Stick to a sleep schedule, and make sure to get adequate sleep.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment and avoid lights and noises.
  • Limit stimuli before bedtime (such as: TV, home works, using computer and electronic games).
  • Minimize stimuli in food and drink before bedtime (such as: soft drinks, coffee or tea).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What is sleep log?

A: A sleep log is a simple diary that keeps track of details about your sleep. It can help your doctor figure out what might be causing insomnia.

Q: Do sedatives and hypnotics have effects in the long run?

A: The main problem is the increased dependence on them especially common stress drugs and associated mental disorders.


  • Counting helps you to fall asleep.
  • Fact: Spending time on bed staring at the ceiling will not lull you to sleep. In this case, it is advised to get up and leave the room.
  • Adults should get 8 hours of sleep.
  • Fact: An individual's need for sleep varies according to his lifestyle and activity.

Narcolepsy Causes

The cause is unknown, but it could be one of the following:

  • Decreased levels of the chemical hypocretin, which is responsible for regulating wakefulness. The deficiency may be due to the immune system attacking the cells that produce or receive hypocretin.
  • Hormonal changes that can occur during puberty, menopause or due to stress.
  • An infection (e.g., swine flu) or the vaccine used against it.
  • Head injury or stroke

Risk factors:

Compulsive sleep affects males and females, and these symptoms usually appear in childhood or teenage years because of a combination of genetic, autoimmune, and environmental factors.


Not all infected people experience the same symptoms. Symptoms may begin to appear suddenly for some or within years or weeks. It is usually a chronic disease, although some symptoms may improve with age. These symptoms include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, sleepiness throughout the day, and difficulty concentrating and staying awake.
  • Sudden sleep attacks.
  • Catatonia (a lethargic attack), which is weakness and loss of muscle control. These seizures occur when you are excited, laughing, angry, or surprised.
  • Sleep paralysis or temporary inability to move or speak while awake or during sleep.
  • Frequent dreams and waking up at night.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Memory problems.
  • headache.
  • depression.

When to see a doctor:

About experiencing one of the symptoms of narcolepsy and feeling weak or depressed.


Excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy may lead to one of the following:

  • Trouble doing work.
  • Problems in social relationships.
  • Injuries and accidents.
  • Side effects of the medications used to treat the disorder may occur (e.g., weight gain).


Because the underlying cause of the disease is not known, the diagnosis is made by observing the symptoms and conducting tests to help managing other conditions that may cause excessive sleepiness, and one of the tests requires staying awake and observing the patient during sleep.


There is no cure for the disease, but treatment can help control symptoms:

  1. Lifestyle changes: Some changes can improve sleeping at night:
    1. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
    2. Take a nap during the day when you usually feel tired.
    3. Make the bedroom dark and at a comfortable temperature, making sure the bed and pillows are comfortable.
    4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals several hours before bed.
    5. Quit Smoking.
    6. Relax, for example, take a warm bath or read a book before bed.
    7. Exercise regularly every day, as it helps to sleep at night, making sure to practice it several hours before bedtime.
  2. The doctor may prescribe some medications, including:
    1. Stimulant medications that help you stay awake during the day.
    2. Antidepressants, which help reduce episodes of cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hallucinations.


Narcolepsy cannot be prevented, but treatment may reduce the number of episodes. Situations that trigger this condition can also be avoided if you are prone to having narcolepsy.