Insomnia Specialist

Ashwin Gowda, MD -  - Sleep Medicine Specialist

Texas Sleep Medicine

Ashwin Gowda, MD

Sleep Medicine Specialist located in South Austin, Austin, TX

At Texas Sleep Medicine, we understand the specific nature of different types of sleep problems and help the patients from in and around Austin, Texas deal with the same. People with chronic insomnia come to us to deal with sleepless nights.

Insomnia Q & A

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the perception of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, and/or waking up too early in the morning. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, including tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Insomnia can be classified as transient (less than one month) and chronic. Chronic insomnia occurs most nights and lasts a month or more. If episodes of insomnia occur from time to time, the insomnia is said to be intermittent.

What Causes Insomnia?

Certain factors seem to make individuals more likely to experience insomnia. It is more common in the elderly, women, and those with a history of depression or anxiety. Stress, anxiety, and other medical conditions may contribute to insomnia. Transient or intermittent insomnia may occur in people who are experiencing one or more of the following: stress, environmental noise or extreme temperatures, jet lag or similar problems, and medication side effects.

Chronic insomnia is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, including underlying physical or mental disorders. One common cause of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome. It may also be due to behavioral factors (including the misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances), shift work or other nighttime activity schedules, and chronic stress.

How is Insomnia Diagnosed?

Patients with insomnia are evaluated with the help of a medical history and a sleep history. The sleep history may be obtained with the aid of a sleep diary filled out by the patient and an interview with the patient’s bed partner.

How is Insomnia Treated?

We believe that the first step towards insomnia cure is a proper diagnosis. Once the level and seriousness of the condition are determined through a study of the medical and sleep histories of the patient, the specific procedures for curing the problem are implemented. Transient and intermittent insomnia may not require treatment since episodes last only a few days at a time. For example, if insomnia is due to a temporary change in the sleep/wake schedule, as with jet lag, the person’s biological clock will often revert to normal on its own. The occasional use of short-acting sleeping pills may improve sleep and daytime alertness. As with all drugs, there are potential side effects. The use of over-the-counter sleep medicines is not usually recommended for the treatment of insomnia. Recommended treatments for chronic insomnia include:

  • Diagnosing and treating underlying medical or psychological problems
  • Reducing behaviors that may worsen insomnia
  • Transient or intermittent use of sleeping pills, under the careful supervision of a physician
  • The long-term use of sleeping pills for chronic insomnia is not recommended, as it can lead to dependence and side effects
  • Behavioral techniques to improve sleep, such as relaxation therapy, sleep restriction therapy and reconditioning

Accepted Insurance Providers

We accept plans from the following providers, please contact our office to determine whether your specific plan is accepted. This list may be subject to change.

AARP
Aetna
Averde Health
Blue Cross Blue Shield
CareCredit
Cigna
Galaxy Healthcare PPO
GEHA
HealthSmart
Humana
Interplan Health Group PPO
Medicare
Multiplan
PHCS
Tricare
UniCare