The medical term for sleeplessness is insomnia. Sleep is important for good health. Our brain gets rest when we sleep. Our cells are repaired. The body heals itself. Sleeplessness can have physical and mental effects. Since the side effects of sleeplessness don’t show immediately, many people stop taking sleep seriously, especially when they want to do something else rather than sleep. Insomnia can also be caused due to tension, too much excitement, a disturbed sleeping environment, and too much use of mobile phone that can disturb one’s circadian cycle. Not being able to sleep occasionally is not a problem but if you cannot fall asleep for a long period of time, you need to get an insomnia test or a sleeplessness test. These are a collection of tests that find out if any harm has been caused to your body due to sleeplessness. These tests can include a basic health checkup, a complete hemogram test, HbA1c test, thyroid profile test (I disturb sleeping pattern can adversely affect your thyroid), among many other tests.
Sleeplessness, insomnia, or sleep disorder can lead to many physical and mental problems. Temporary sleeplessness can be caused due to jet lag, too much stress or excitement, an all-nighter, a medication, large amounts of coffee, too much consumption of alcohol, or temporary health conditions. Sooner or later, you can make up for a temporary bout of sleeplessness. It becomes a health problem if you can’t sleep at night continuously for many nights. On such occasions, you need to get a sleeplessness test.
In most of the cases, sleeplessness is a habit-related problem because people’s lifestyles have changed. They work hard during the day and when it is the time to wind up, they spend time in other activities such as browsing through their mobile phones, binge watching TV, spending nights out with friends, getting into heated discussions that excite them to no end, eating foods that hamper sound sleep, consuming alcohol every day that disturbs sleep, consuming coffee at odd hours and staying awake until the wee hours and then getting up early to go to office, school or college. Growing age also causes sleeplessness among many people. If you have a thyroid problem then it may also impede your sleeping pattern.
Adverse effects of sleeplessness or insomnia
Sleep allows your body and mind to recharge. You need to get a good night’s sleep to feel refreshed and alert. In most of the cases our internal body clock regulates our sleep cycle. This is also called the circadian rhythm. When this rhythm is disturbed, it causes sleeplessness and insomnia. Not getting a proper sleep can have the following adverse effects on your health:
Type II diabetes
Stroke & heart disease
… and many other illnesses and ailments.
Since sleeplessness is mostly a habit -related problem, by changing your habits and making a few adjustments in your environment, you can have a proper sleep. You should remove distractions that prevent you from falling asleep. Avoid using your mobile phone 1-2 hours before going to bed. Have a light dinner and if possible, take your dinner at least three hours before going to bed. Don’t excite yourself before going to sleep. Having a relaxing bath helps many people fall asleep. Change the environment around your bed. Unclutter your environment. Most importantly, recognize the importance of getting enough sleep and then, make provisions for that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a specific test for sleeplessness?
Sleeplessness can cause other health problems and hence, if you experience certain symptoms your doctor is going to advise certain tests to evaluate the effect of sleeplessness on you. Your doctor may advise you to go for one of these, or a few of these tests: HbA1c test, iron test, lipid profile test, a thyroid test, a complete hemogram test, a diabetes test, a cholesterol test, and other tests based on observations.
Is sleeplessness an illness?
In most of the cases it is not, but in some cases, it can be. For example, if you are taking medication for an illness and you cannot sleep because of that medication, then it is a medical problem and not a habit-related problem. Your doctor may advise you some medication for falling asleep. Other than that, sleeplessness originates from your lifestyle and your environment. If you make some adjustments in both, you can start sleeping well.
Is health damage caused by sleeplessness permanent?
As you have read that if you go for sleeplessness test you go for tests for various deficiencies and illnesses caused by sleeplessness. Some problems like depression, headaches, obesity and slower metabolism can be reversed if you rectify your sleeping pattern. If sleeplessness has caused you type II diabetes or heart problem, then in some cases, these problems are irreversible. Hence, it is very important that you get a sleeplessness test. Such a test will tell you if you are inching towards serious problems and what precautions you must take.
How urgently should I get a sleeplessness test done?
As fast as you can. If you haven’t been sleeping for a few days and even after trying, you can’t seem to be able to fall asleep, it means your organs are not getting enough rest and they are being traumatized. A good thing about getting a sleeplessness test is that you will be seeing a doctor (don’t get a test without consulting a doctor) and he or she will be able to tell you exactly what tests to go for, for your present symptoms. Most probably you will be able to reverse the health problems with proper medication and good rest.
How much sleep should I get?
Every person has his or her own sleeping pattern. You will need to observe yourself for a few days. Maintain a chart. Do you feel good after waking up? Do you need to use an alarm, or do you get up on your own? The best way to know how much sleep you need is to observe your own pattern. When you get up refreshed and peaceful, it means you have had a good night’s sleep. Ideally, you shouldn’t require an alarm. When your body has had enough rest, you awake on your own. Nonetheless, here are the recommended sleeping hours for various age groups: 0-3 months: 14-17 hours 4-11 months: 12-15 hours 1-2 years: 11-14 hours 3-5 years: 10-13 hours 6-13 years: 9-11 hours 14-17 years: 8-10 hours 18-25 years: 7-9 hours 26-64 years: 7-9 hours 65 and older: 7-8 hours.