Heart Disease and Diabetes: How Insomnia Can Affect Your Health

Q: How do I know when to seek treatment for insomnia?

It is recommended to seek treatment if you have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or if you tend to wake up early in the morning, and it affects your ability to function and interact with people.

You can look for a general practitioner interested in helping people with mental health problems, a psychiatrist, a psychologist or a counsellor.

Q: Why should people seek treatment for insomnia?

Many people suffer in silence and it is not necessary.

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of medical problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, sepsis (blood poisoning by bacteria) and hypertension.

Persistent insomnia can also lead to depression and anxiety disorders. Individuals can become suicidal as they cannot bear the agony of not being able to sleep.

Many people who sleep poorly at night tend to crave carbs the next day. They end up eating unhealthy, which can lead to obesity and a higher risk of developing diabetes.

The consequences of chronic insomnia can be significant. It can cause fatigue, impaired memory and cognitive functioning; overall decline in the quality of life, with an increase in professional dysfunctions; and a decrease in job performance. Insomnia can also lead to poor memory and dementia.

It will be good to seek treatment early. Not only can prescribed medications help speed recovery from a primary mental health disorder, but some of them may not necessarily lead to addiction or dependency with the proper dosage.