Do You Have Difficulty Falling Asleep at Night?
Do You Wake Up Multiple Times Throughout the Night?
We Can Help You Feel Better Today!
At Nova Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associates, we provide outstanding care for sleep disorders, including insomnia. As Northern Virginia’s top-rated insomnia clinic, we serve areas like Dulles, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Reston, Chantilly, Fairfax, Washington DC and more!
Our sleep medicine specialists will help you find the causes of your insomnia and give you access to effective treatments that improve your sleep. Book an appointment below!
Sleep plays an important role in the overall health of your body. Ensuring that you get enough sleep will improve both your mental and physical health, boost your immune system, and help you retain memories.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is considered a sleep disorder. People who struggle with insomnia find it challenging to fall asleep or stay asleep. They often wake up the next morning feeling unsatisfied with the previous night’s sleep, which leads to fatigue that affects them throughout the day.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, and many adults claim to have experienced symptoms before. However, only a few experience symptoms that are severe enough for them to be formally diagnosed with an insomnia disorder.
If diagnosed, you fall into one of two categories: acute or chronic. Acute insomnia may occur when you experience a traumatic event or undergo a lot of stress. It can last for several days or weeks. Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer.
Causes of Insomnia
Severe chronic insomnia is usually caused by stress, a traumatic event, or a bad habit. While insomnia can last for years, finding the cause of it can help you put a stop to it. Moreover, this condition may be the primary health issue you are experiencing, but its onset could be a result of other medical conditions or a medication that you’re taking.
Here are some of the most common causes of acute and chronic insomnia:
As we mentioned, acute insomnia is usually a result of a recent traumatic event and leads to short-term insomnia. Common stressors like school, money, and family, can cause flareups of the disorder.
A change in sleep habits can also cause acute insomnia. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is one way that you can manage symptoms.
Chronic insomnia can also be a result of everyday stresses or a traumatic event and lasts for 3 months or more. A lot of people who travel or have an inconsistent work schedule also experience the disorder. Other chronic insomnia causes include:
- Work schedule or traveling. Bodies rely on a natural circadian rhythm to guide the sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, and metabolism. Think of your body’s circadian rhythm as its internal clock.
- Excessive eating. If you eat too much before you go to sleep, you may experience heartburn or general discomfort when you lay down. This can keep you awake.
- Substance abuse. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol can develop the disorder.
- Caffeine. Caffeinated drinks are a stimulant. If you drink those before bed, you may struggle to fall asleep.
If you think you may be suffering from insomnia, contact a member of our team at Nova Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associated. Our physicians and staff are committed to treating your sleep disorder using tried and true methods. Schedule your appointment today!
Symptoms of Insomnia
The most common symptoms of insomnia are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Waking up repeatedly throughout the night
- Waking up earlier than intended
- Feeling fatigued after a night’s sleep
- Tiredness during the day
- Difficulty focusing or remembering
Insomnia is what causes restlessness. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we mentioned, contact one of our physicians to find out how we can help you manage your insomnia.
Diagnosis of Insomnia
How is insomnia diagnosed? When you visit a medical professional to get diagnosed, the process may look something like this.
- A physical exam. If you and your doctor cannot find the cause of your sleep disorder, they may perform a physical exam and insomnia test to check for medical conditions that can cause the disorder. Blood tests are used to check for thyroid problems that could lead to poor sleeping habits.
- Reviewing sleep habits. Aside from asking you questions about your sleeping habits; your doctor may give you a questionnaire to learn more about your sleep-wake pattern and the amount of daytime tiredness that you experience. They may also encourage you to keep a sleep diary for several weeks.
- Sleep study. If your doctor suspects that you are showing signs of another type of sleep disorder like sleep apnea, you may be asked to spend a night at a sleep center. This is to monitor and record your body activity while you sleep. This includes breathing, brain waves, eye/body movements, and heartbeat. Insomnia sleep studies help doctors understand the way sleep disorders work.
Contact one of our expert physicians to set up an appointment if you believe you are suffering from insomnia. Our staff can help you understand the causes of your disorder and develop a customized treatment plan if need be.
Insomnia Treatment Options
There are many ways to treat insomnia. Our doctors can inform you about what treatments are available and what may benefit you the most. Using insomnia treatment guidelines, they’ll find the solution adequate for you. Here are a few forms of treatment to consider:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy can help you reduce the negative thoughts and actions that cause your sleep troubles. CBT-I is just as, or more, effective than sleep medications.
CBT-I teaches you to take control of the belief systems that negatively affect your sleep patterns. Strategies of CBT-I include:
- Stimulus control therapy. This treatment method addresses the factors that lead to your mind resisting sleep. You may be told to set a consistent bedtime and wake time, so you are less likely to take naps.
- Relaxation methods. You may be instructed to try different breathing patterns to reduce anxiety and control your muscle tension so you can feel more relaxed.
- Restricted sleep. Restricting your sleep by spending less time in bed and avoiding naps can make you feel more tired the following night.
- Being passively awake. This type of therapy suggests that by trying to stay awake in bed rather than expecting to fall asleep, will ease your anxiety about falling asleep. Decreased anxiety makes it easier to fall asleep.
- Light therapy. If you fall asleep and wake up earlier than you wanted to, light can help you readjust your circadian rhythm.
Prescription sleeping medication can help you fall asleep. Doctors don’t like to prescribe this type of medicine for more
than a few weeks, but certain types are appropriate for long-term use.
These insomnia treatment medications include:
- Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
- Ramelteon (Rozerem)
- Zaleplon (Sonata)
- Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, or Zolpimist)
There are certain nonprescription medications that you can take to make you drowsy, but they shouldn’t be used regularly. The prevention of insomnia is largely about maintaining good physical and mental health.
Before you take any over-the-counter meds, consult a member of our team so we can help you make an informed decision.
Lifestyle Changes – Sleep Hygiene
Then, of course, there are a few changes you make to your lifestyle to combat insomnia. A few of these include avoiding caffeinated beverages, especially before bed. Exercising prior to bedtime is another great way to help your body unwind. Finally, be sure to avoid any non-sleeping activities while in bed, such as watching TV or talking on the phone.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
NOVA Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associates provides comprehensive services in the fields of lung, critical care and sleep disorders. We provide both outpatient and inpatient treatments. We partner with our local hospital, Stone Springs Hospital Center, in providing intensive care services, pulmonary consultations, sleep studies and in patient pulmonary admissions. In addition, we provide sleep studies, sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment. At NOVA Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associates, our board certified physicians are committed to providing excellent, empathetic and compassionate care while judiciously utilizing diagnostic tests and pharmacologic therapies.