Altitude Insomnia

Altitude Insomnia Symptoms


Insomnia can show its ugly little face in many different ways. Pilots, flight attendants, and even military trainees can suffer from this rare type of insomnia . This occurs when there is ascension to altitudes greater than about two miles up. Along with the insomnia itself, altitude insomnia symptoms also includes fatigue, headache, and lack of appetite. One factor to keep in mind is that altitude isn’t always a factor that’s related to flying in an airplane because altitude insomnia can be common among mountain climbers too.


Clinically, it has been indicated that usually within a week of being exposed to the high altitudes, the person will experience insomnia where they’ll be able to sleep but the sleep will be interrupted constantly as a result of inability to catch their breath. They may feel like they’re suffocating or choking. There can also be other symptoms as talked about above that can accompany the altitude insomnia.


Altitude insomnia occurs in about 25% of people who rise about 2 miles above sea level. Clinically, altitude insomnia has a couple of other names akin to acute mountain sickness, Acosta’s disease, Alpine sickness, and hypobaropathie. The primary reason for this is exposure to low air pressure which is what occurs to folks at high altitudes. Now because the aircrafts of today are modernized, the cabins are pressurized which therefore does not have an effect on travellers on airplanes.


Normally it is the symptoms that are associated with the altitude that trigger the insomnia. Those who climb mountains, pilots, or flight crews follow what they consider to be a Golden Rule, “Fly high and sleep low.” While that may not make much sense to the average Joe, to them it signifies a method to expose and re expose themselves to repeated altitude little by little to avoid these symptoms. They ascend steadily, nonetheless this isn’t possible with flight crews. Many claim that fast ascension isn’t the problem at all but specialists do agree that there’s much about this in particular disorder that isn’t fully understood yet. There has been a strong link though that has indicated that when there’s a speedy dissension that the signs disappear very quickly.


Medications That May Help To Prevent Altitude Insomnia


There are medications that may also help to prevent altitude insomnia; Diamox and Sumatriptan are both prescribed with the prevention of altitude illness in mind, subsequently eliminating any altitude insomnia. Self help measures include drinking loads of water and cocoa leaves have also been known to assist altitude illness as well. Though altitude insomnia is one among many signs that happen with extreme heights, it is very important remember that it is a lung complication where the lungs are affected by the extreme altitude. Not too long ago a new drug came out to assist folks with this condition. Acetazolamide will be able to assist many people that are subjected to altitude related illnesses. What researchers found was that this drug reduced pressure within the lungs by relaxing muscles that line the lungs’ capillaries. This reduces fluid in the lungs and increases oxygenation.

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