Terminal Insomnia

Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Definition - What does Terminal Insomnia mean?

Terminal insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by early awakenings in the morning followed by increased difficulty resuming normal sleep patterns. A wide range of symptoms can occur including chronic daytime drowsiness, decreased concentration, impaired awareness, frequent headaches, and orbital pressure behind the eyes. A number of psychological and physiological conditions are believed to contribute to recurrent episodes of terminal insomnia in patients such as anxiety, arthritis, depression, persistent back pain, and ongoing stress.

WorkplaceTesting explains Terminal Insomnia

Many individuals experience a wide range of sleep disorders including insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea, disrupting regular biorhythms that can interfere with daily activities. Terminal insomnia is a subset of a primary insomnia diagnosis in which early morning awakenings occur typically between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., often attributed to an underlying causative factor(s). A doctor’s consultation can help identify concomitant health concerns based on a patient’s medical history, lifestyle habits, and occupational circumstances.

For instance, alcohol and/or caffeine consumption coupled with heavy meals prior to bed can compound sleep insomnia. In the workplace, environmental stressors can also influence terminal insomnia in employees, carrying significant financial repercussions for businesses resulting in absenteeism, productivity loss, and a high incidence rate of accidents. Medical evidence indicates that insomnia and other sleep disorders lead to escalating cases of morbidity where people are candidates for cancer, hypertension, and obesity.

Employee assistance programs can serve as an effective initiative in addressing sleep disorders and establishing methods to dampen the impact on its workforce. Employers can emphasize the benefits of proper sleep hygiene, help develop stress management techniques, make flexible work schedules available, furnish treatment modalities and/or medication, and set reasonable job expectations. Terminal insomnia can pose major health risks to individuals, but conducive sleep habits and the concerted effort from employers to foster sleep wellness can mitigate and/or prevent many sleep disturbance cases.

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