Do You Suffer From Insomnia?
We have all had difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at some point in our lives but an estimated ten percent of the population suffer from chronic insomnia. Do you have sleeping problems because of eczema or is it worse than you think? Insomnia can contribute to the amount of sleep you get and the quality of a person’s sleep. Most people know when they suffer from insomnia, depending on how they feel the next day. The medical community will diagnose insomnia according to the duration of the problem. All healthcare professionals disagree with the symptoms but general guidelines are listed below.
- Chronic insomnia: Episode longer than three weeks.
- Insomnia in the short term: Lasts between one and three weeks.
- Temporary insomnia: Lasts for one week or less.
All age groups are influenced by the sleep disorder. Insomnia tends to affect women more than men in adulthood and it is more common among people with low income, those with mental health issues and alcoholics. Stress is considered the leading cause or the trigger of insomnia. It is important to fight temporary and short term to prevent it from becoming chronic insomnia.
What Can Cause Insomnia?
Various factors can cause insomnia. They can be classified into psychiatric, medical or situational factor groups. Common causes of temporary and short-term insomnia include irritating noise, change in working hours, latency, ambient room temperature, stress, medical problems, elevation, discontinuation of treatment.
Chronic Insomnia is usually related to medical or psychiatric problems. Stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are psychiatric factors that cause insomnia. Doctors use symptoms to diagnose mental illness and depression. This does not mean that if you suffer from insomnia, you experience depression or mental illness.
There are also some physical conditions that can cause the sleep disorder. These include chronic pain, circadian rhythm disorders, chronic fatigue, angina pectoris, heart disease, acid reflux, sleep apnea, asthma, brain trauma, and Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s.
People in the following categories are considered to have a high risk of insomnia: frequent job ex changers, travellers, pregnant women, students, older adults, and post-menopausal women. There are also different types of medications, including cold and asthma medications, high blood pressure medications, and medications used to treat anxiety and depression.
Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine are some of the other causes of insomnia.
Some of the most common symptoms of insomnia include: difficulty concentrating during sleep, inability to sleep or stay asleep, difficulty remembering things, poor mood, lack of coordination and difficulty staying awake behind the wheel. When people experience these symptoms, they sometimes exacerbate their sleepless nights by treating themselves with a number of caffeine, excessive stimulants, and energy drinks.
What About Eczema Related Insomnia?
People rarely talk about how eczema or other skin related conditions can impact your sleep. The long lasting itchy nights, where all you can think about is scratching and how to stop itching. Not only is this affecting the precious healing time of the skin but also has a huge impact on your health and mental well-being. This also increases the chance of sick days at work/school and doctor visits related to disturbed sleep associated with eczema. It’s a vicious cycle – the more sleep you have, the better your eczema will be but you can’t sleep because of your eczema. This is enough to drive anyone insane!
Things to Help you Sleep with Eczema
To give yourself the best possible chance of a good nights sleep, there are a few key things you need to look at –
- There are ‘drowsy’ antihistamines that will help calm the itch and reduce allergies.
- Bed linens
- Make sure you have anti-allergy bed sheets made from either cotton, bamboo or silk.
- Heat is a massive eczema trigger and if you wake up hot you’re going to scratch. Turn the thermostat down in your house and make sure you keep that moisture in your skin.
- 100% cotton or silk pyjamas feel amazing on the skin and will irritate you less. Sleeping in the nude is even better!
- Stop scratching
- A seemingly impossible task to achieve but some people recommend wearing thin gloves to bed, as that helps them wake up without blood on their sheets. At the least, keep your nails short!
- Stay moisturised
- If your skin is dry whilst you’re sleeping, you will wake up in the middle of the night scratching. Make sure you put plenty of moisturiser on before bed.
If things become unbearable and you think you have insomnia, there is help available. Go and see your local GP/doctor as soon as possible. They will help you sort your sleeping pattern out with a variety of methods and medications that really do help!