There are millions of people all over the world who are dealing with insomnia at the moment. In fact, studies have suggested that about 1 out of every 3 people has some form of mild insomnia.
Do you suspect that you might have it?
If so, you should find out more about insomnia as a whole and learn how to know if you have insomnia. While it’s a relatively common sleep disorder, you could also be dealing with a different sleep disorder other than insomnia right now.
Either way, you should take steps to eliminate sleeping problems from your life. It will leave you feeling more well rested at the beginning of every day and give you more energy to use on a daily basis.
Let’s take a closer look at how to know if you have insomnia.
What Is Insomnia?
Before we talk about how to know if you have insomnia, let’s make sure you have a clear understanding of what insomnia is and how it can affect you.
Insomnia is characterized as a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for people to fall asleep and then stay asleep all night long.
Most people mistakenly believe that insomnia only applies to those who can’t fall asleep at the end of the day. But it also applies to those who wake up frequently throughout the night and then can’t get back to sleep.
Additionally, a person suffering from insomnia might wake up very early in the morning every day and have trouble getting themselves to sleep again. Even those who do sleep but wake up feeling tired regularly could technically have insomnia.
What Are the Different Types of Insomnia?
There are a couple different types of insomnia that you might encounter.
The first type of insomnia is called primary insomnia. Those who have primary insomnia deal with sleep problems that don’t have anything to do with any other health issues. Sleeping is going to be your one and only problem when you have primary insomnia.
The second type of insomnia is called secondary insomnia. Those who have secondary insomnia deal with sleep problems that stem from some other health issues.
For example, asthma, arthritis, heartburn, cancer, and depression can all cause insomnia. Pain, substance abuse, and even certain medications can also affect your ability to sleep.
Figuring out which type of insomnia you have is one of the keys to managing it effectively.
Is Insomnia a Chronic Condition?
Most people assume that insomnia is a chronic condition that a person will have to tolerate for a long time once they have it.
However, insomnia is actually a tricky sleep disorder to deal with because it’s not chronic in all people. It can be acute or chronic, depending on the person.
There are some people who will only have to put up with insomnia for a few days at a time. There are others who will suffer from it every single night.
There are even some people who will have insomnia sporadically based on things that are happening in their life.
If you have insomnia for at least three nights out of every week for a month, you are considered to have chronic insomnia. Otherwise, you likely have acute insomnia.
What Causes Insomnia?
One of the toughest parts of dealing with insomnia is that it can be caused by so many different things.
Those who have acute insomnia might have it because of:
- Job loss
- The death of a friend or family member
- Environmental factors, including everything from noise outside to light in your bedroom
- Jet lag
- Discomfort in a physical or emotional sense
As you can see, there are all kinds of factors that can play into acute insomnia. Something as simple as having a bad day at the office could trigger insomnia and keep you up at night.
Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, is typically caused by something much deeper. Those who have chronic insomnia might have it because of:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic discomfort when trying to sleep
These aren’t always issues you can take care of quickly. You can’t just close a window or flip over a cell phone that’s letting off light to manage chronic insomnia.
But finding out the cause of your insomnia is an important step in learning how to treat it.
What Are the Most Common Insomnia Symptoms?
It’s not all that difficult to tell if you’re dealing with insomnia or another sleep disorder. More often than not, you’ll figure it out when you’re laying in bed wide awake at night wishing you could fall asleep.
That being said, there are some surefire symptoms that will let you know you have insomnia if you aren’t sure about it.
Some of the most common insomnia symptoms are:
- Sleepiness throughout the course of the day
- General tiredness and fatigue
- Irritability for an unexplained reason
- Difficulting concentrating
- Inability to recall certain things and a lack of memory
While all of these symptoms might not be present within those suffering from insomnia, you will usually experience at least a few of them.
As you might imagine, not sleeping well at night can really hinder your ability to operate normally. Therefore, you should try and get a handle on your insomnia sooner than later.
It will help you feel like normal again and prevent you from putting yourself or others in danger due to the fatigue you will feel.
How Do You Diagnose Insomnia?
You might exhibit all of the symptoms of insomnia listed above. You might even be 100 percent convinced you have insomnia since you struggle to drift off to sleep almost every night.
But you can’t diagnose insomnia yourself. You need to speak with a professional who can diagnose it for you.
If you suspect that you might have insomnia, you should make an appointment with your primary healthcare provider. During that appointment, you should speak about your concerns and let your doctor know you think you have insomnia.
From there, you will likely need to have a medical evaluation done. Your doctor will give you a physical exam, learn more about your medical history, and even speak with you about your sleep history.
Your doctor might also ask you to keep a sleep diary over the course of a few weeks. In that sleep diary, you will need to list your sleeping patterns and make notes about how you felt on certain days based on your sleep or lack thereof.
Additionally, your doctor might invite your spouse or partner into their office to speak with them about your sleeping behaviors. You might be doing things in your sleep that you don’t know about, which could have an impact on your doctor’s final diagnosis.
If, at the end of all this, your doctor isn’t yet ready to diagnose you with insomnia, they might arrange for you to book an appointment at a sleep center. There, you will be subjected to a wide range of special tests that will see if you have insomnia once and for all.
This might feel like a lengthy process. But it’s for your own good! Your doctor should make sure that you have insomnia and not another disorder that is causing sleeping problems.
Can Insomnia Be Treated?
The good news for those who are diagnosed with insomnia is that there are plenty of treatment options available for you.
If you have acute insomnia, your treatment might be simple. Doing something like setting a bedtime for yourself and practicing better sleep habits can work wonders.
If you have chronic insomnia, your doctor might put you on a medication to help you fall asleep at night. They might also try and treat any underlying issues that could be causing insomnia or suggest that you meet with a counselor for behavioral therapy.
With a little effort on your part, you can do away with your insomnia and start getting a lot more sleep at night.
What Are Tips for Avoiding Insomnia?
If you have a mild case of insomnia and want to avoid it at all costs, there are some things you can try.
You can prevent insomnia from setting in by:
- Going to bed at the same time every night
- Waking up at the same time every morning
- Resisting the urge to take naps during the day
- Avoiding the use of computers, tablets, and smartphones in the hour leading up to your bedtime
- Staying away from caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the late afternoon and at night
- Exercising on a more regular basis
- Steering clear of heavy meals late at night
- Using your bedroom exclusively for sleeping and sex
- Wearing a sleep mask at night
There is almost no end to the things you can do to rid your life of insomnia. Try these things and see what kind of results you get.
Learn How to Know If You Have Insomnia and Then Deal With It
By learning how to know if you have insomnia, you can take the right steps to manage it more effectively. You can also find out if you need to bring a doctor into the equation and get professional help.
But no matter what steps you take, you should deal with your insomnia accordingly. It will make you a happier person overall and make your days more productive.
Use our sleep calculator to figure out how to get the best night of sleep possible.