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不眠症のさまざまなタイプ-中途覚醒の原因と対策方法について

夜明け

不眠症の1つの症状として睡眠時間中に何度も目が覚めてしまう症状があり、これを中途覚醒といいます。中途覚醒の原因は様々なものが考えられますが、いずれも原因を考慮しながら、その対策を立てていくことが大切です。本稿では不眠症の一症状としての中途覚醒についての原因と対策をまとめています。

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不眠症の一症状・中途覚醒とは

眠る男

中途覚醒は不眠症の一種です。不眠症というとなかなか眠りにつくことができないタイプのものを意識しやすいものですが、なかなか眠りにつくことができないタイプの不眠症は入眠困難といいます。不眠症は入眠困難以外にも様々なものがあり、その一種として中途覚醒があります。中途覚醒は、不眠症のうち、睡眠中に目が覚めてしまうタイプの症状です。何度も目が覚めてしまうので、じっくり眠ることができません。

不眠症をお持ちの方の中には、入眠困難ばかりではなく中途覚醒の症状が慢性的に続いている方も多くおられます。中途覚醒の場合、その原因と対策方法はどのようなものがあるのでしょうか。

様々な中途覚醒の原因と対策

中途覚醒の原因としては唯一の原因があるというわけではなく、可能性として様々な原因が考えられます。不眠症として中途覚醒の症状をお持ちの方は以下のようなことが原因となっていることが考えられます。

自律神経のリズムが乱れていること

不眠症として中途覚醒を患っている場合に、もっとも可能性として考えられるのが自律神経の乱れです。自律神経は睡眠や覚醒などをコントロールしますが、ストレスなどが蓄積すると自律神経のバランスは乱れてしまいます。

そしてストレスによって乱れた自律神経のリズムは、自律神経のうち、リラックスをつかさどる副交感神経の働きを乱してしまい、睡眠のリズムが崩れてしまうことになります。

自律神経のリズムの乱れ自体は、当然ですが、意識することは難しいので、日々の生活の中でストレスになっていることはないかどうかを見直されることが大切です。

飲酒の習慣

飲酒の習慣があると不眠症、特に中途覚醒を患ってしまう可能性が高くなります。
お酒を飲むと一般には眠気を誘うので、一見すると飲酒と中途覚醒は関係がないようにも思えます。

確かに、お酒は神経をリラックスさせ、入眠自体を容易にします。その意味でお酒は入眠困難というタイプの不眠症をもたらすことは少ないということができます。

しかし、不眠症のうち中途覚醒についてはお酒は非常に悪い影響を与えることがあります。つまり、お酒を飲むと体の体温が上昇するために、睡眠中に深く眠ることができなくなってしまいます。そのため、お酒の量が多いと不眠症のうち、中途覚醒には陥りやすいということになります。

飲酒・深酒の傾向がある方で夜中に目がよく覚めてしまうという場合には少しだけお酒を控えられることで中途覚醒の症状が改善することがあります。中途覚醒改善のためにお酒を少しだけ減らしてみることがおすすめできます。

うつ病等の精神疾患の可能性

不眠症はうつ病等の精神的な疾患がある場合にも生じます。そのため、中途覚醒を含む様々なタイプの不眠症の症状がある場合にはその原因としてうつ病などの精神疾患がある場合もあります。うつ病以外に不眠症の原因として考えられる精神疾患としては統合失調症などもあります。

中途覚醒などの不眠症の背後に精神疾患がある場合には、不眠症だけではなく、それに伴う様々な諸症状が現れることが通常ですので、他の症状と合わせて不眠症の原因に精神疾患が潜んでいないかをチェックされることが大切です。

例えば、中途覚醒がうつ病に伴う症状であった場合には、不眠症だけではなく、気持ちの落ち込みややる気の減退などの症状が発生します。また、中途覚醒の原因に統合失調症がある場合には、幻覚や妄想などの症状も現れます。

これらの症状とともに不眠症・中途覚醒の状態が続く場合には速やかに精神科・心療内科医による診断を受けなければなりません。

なお、不眠症・中途覚醒の症状であることにあまりに気持ちが向かってしまうために、帰ってますます眠れなくなってしまうというケースがあります。これは、強迫神経症(いわゆるノイローゼ)というものであり、狭い意味での精神病ではありません。

ただ、強迫神経症で不眠症・中途覚醒の症状が悪化することはありえますので、この場合にも精神科での診断がおすすめできます。強迫神経症の場合、ご自身の不眠症の症状について「なんとかしなければならない」という思いが強く、かつ、日常生活は通常通り送ることができているのが特徴です。

まとめ:不眠症と中途覚醒についてのまとめ

以上、本文で述べました不眠症のうち、中途覚醒の症状についてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 中途覚醒は睡眠時間中に頻繁に目が覚めてしまう症状で不眠症の一種です。  
  • 中途覚醒の原因としては精神的なストレス、飲酒、精神的な病気などの可能性が考えられます。これらの場合にはストレスの原因を考えるなど原因に対応した対処をすることが大切です
  • さらに、中途覚醒の場合、強迫神経症が併発してますます苦しみが大きくなることがあります。

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