Insomnia – which is Latin for “no sleep” — is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among Americans, and can be either acute (lasts one to several nights) or chronic (lasts months to years).
Half of those who have experienced insomnia blame the problem on stress and worry. In the case of stress-induced insomnia, the degree to which your sleep is disturbed depends on the severity and duration of the stressful situation.
Stressful situations that may lead to insomnia include:
- Anticipation of a major event, such as a wedding, vacation, or holiday
- Loss of a job
- Loss of a loved one
- Marital or relationship problems
- Tragic occurrence
Insomnia can also occur because of jet lag, shift work, or other major schedule changes. Insomnia is more likely to occur in older people and women. Women may suffer loss of sleep with hormonal fluctuations, due to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.
Rates of insomnia increase with age, but most often the sleep disturbance is attributed to some other medical condition, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia
- Consuming too much caffeine or other stimulants (through food or drink or in medicines, such as weight-loss products or cold medicines)
- Drinking alcohol, which can prohibit deep, restful sleep cycles
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Heart disease
- Other mental health conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Taking certain medicines, such as some antidepressants and medicines for asthma or blood pressure
- Using nicotine-containing tobacco products, such as cigarettes
Signs and symptoms of insomnia include:
- Being tired during the day
- Having persistent worries about sleep
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Making excessive errors
- Rarely feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Trouble falling or staying asleep at night
- Trouble focusing on work, school, home, or social life
- Trouble paying attention
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
The sleep medicine experts at the University of Miami Health System are experienced in treating insomnia so you can rest easier and feel more refreshed each day.
An adult or pediatric sleep study (also called polysomnography) is performed in our sleep clinic. While you sleep, we collect information such as breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, brain wave activity, muscle tone, heart rhythm, and eye movements. This information is captured using small, painless electrodes attached to your body and elastic bands around your chest and abdomen.
Because we’re open 24/7, we offer a variety of studies including:
- Maintenance wakefulness test (MWT): measures how alert you are during the day
- Multiple latency sleep test (MSLT): a test that checks your daytime sleepiness by monitoring how quickly you fall asleep in a quiet, daytime environment
- Round-the-clock, all-night continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): a breathing machine that constantly pushes air through the nose, or nose and mouth, to keep the airways open while you sleep
Your sleep medicine specialist will perform a comprehensive physical exam – including gathering a detailed health history – to diagnose your insomnia.
Improve Sleep Habits
Being mindful of and working to improve your sleep habits can sometimes help reduce the symptoms of insomnia. Good sleep habits include:
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol and caffeine
- Avoiding or limiting daytime naps
- Getting enough physical activity each day
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
- Not eating within a few hours of bedtime
- Relaxing bedtime ritual, including a warm bath, reading, or listening to soft music
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Your sleep medicine specialist may recommend you undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you control and reduce the anxious thoughts that are keeping you up at night.
Your sleep medicine specialist may prescribe a medicine to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.
Why Choose UHealth?
Regional leaders in sleep medicine and sleep surgery. As a fully accredited comprehensive sleep center, our program meets and exceeds the rigorous standards set by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This designation recognizes our facility, services, and providers for the highest commitment to safety and quality care.
Multispecialty care customized for your good health and overall wellness. Depending on your condition, your team can include ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENT), pulmonologists (lung specialists), neurologists, psychiatrists, and weight management specialists with special expertise in sleep disorders. You receive the best care possible when we’re all working together for you.
Sleep studies offered 24/7 in a state-of-the-art sleep center. You can rest assured that you receive the most advanced care available. Sleep studies and tests are conducted in a modern, comfortable center — including the latest technology and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.
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