What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a general term for poor quality sleep because of one or more of the following:
The use of the term insomnia is not dependent on the number of hours slept, or how long it takes to get to sleep, but instead on multiple factors which describe the sleeping pattern. Insomnia may be classified as either:
What Causes Insomnia?
There are many causes of insomnia. Many people with chronic health conditions also have problems with insomnia. In addition, advanced age and female gender, make individuals more likely to experience insomnia. The cause of chronic insomnia can be complex and often results from a combination of factors.
Why is Insomnia Prevalent in People With Arthritis?
Although women and the elderly are more likely to experience insomnia, it has been reported in a high percentage of arthritic patients. This may be due to:
Fatigue Can Be Problematic For People With Arthritis
In addition, many arthritics are fatigued at bed time but not physically tired. This is due to reduced physical activity because of joint immobility.
How Can I Cope With Insomnia?
Transient and intermittent insomnia may not require treatment since episodes last only a few days at a time. Coping with chronic insomnia may require complex treatment including:
- relaxation therapy (techniques that reduce anxiety and body tension)
- sleep restriction therapy (some people suffering from insomnia spend too much time in bed unsuccessfully trying to sleep, they may benefit from sleep restriction therapy)
- physical reconditioning (people with insomnia are reconditioned to associate the bedroom and bedtime with sleep. For most people with insomnia, this means not using their beds for any activities other than sleep and sex)
Sources: Interview With Dr. Raymond Federman, Facts About Insomnia, NIH Publication No. 95-3801, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute