Insomnia Living With Insomnia

Adopting lifelong healthy lifestyle changes, including building healthy sleep habits, can help prevent insomnia from coming back after treatment. These include the following steps

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and recreational drugs.

Talk with your doctor about how often to schedule follow-up visits. Between visits, tell your doctor if you have any new or worsening symptoms or if you have side effects from your medicines.

Your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary to help you keep track of how well you are sleeping during and after your treatment. 

Even when your sleep improves, you may need to keep a regular daily schedule, take your medicines regularly, and continue cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Screenshot of In Brief: your guide to healthy sleep

In Brief: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep

View the fact sheet, which tells you how to recognize if you or a loved one has a sleep disorder and has tips for getting better sleep.

Health problems caused by insomnia

Sleep is important for your body and mind. To understand how sleep is important for good health, read How Sleep Works and Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

In the short term, insomnia can make it hard to concentrate or think clearly. You may feel irritable, sad, and unrested or have headaches. Insomnia raises your risk of falling, having a road accident, or missing work. 

In addition, chronic insomnia can affect how well your brain, heart, and other parts of your body work. It can raise your risk of certain health problems or make existing problems worse.

  • Breathing problems like asthma may occur or worsen as a result of chronic insomnia.
  • Heart problems are also a risk when you have chronic insomnia, including conditions such as arrhythmiaheart failure, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide may occur. The lack of sleep can also make it difficult for you to stick to treatment for a substance use disorder
  • People who have chronic pain and insomnia may become more aware of and distressed by their pain.
  • Pregnancy complications such as having more pain during labor, giving birth preterm, needing a cesarean section (C-section), and having a baby with low birth weight can happen if you experience chronic insomnia.
  • Your immune system, your body’s natural defense against germs and sickness, can also be affected by too little sleep. These problems can lead to  inflammation  in your body or make it harder to fight infections.
  • Problems with your  metabolism  can arise when you don’t get enough sleepLack of sleep can change the levels of hormones that control hunger and how you break down food. This can raise the risk of overweight and obesitymetabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
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