What is insomnia?

Saturday, December 31st 2016. | Disease

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is described as problems going to sleep or staying asleep even though the person has plenty of opportunity and time to sleep. Insomnia leads to problems functioning during the daytime. Insomnia is a very common disorder affecting between thirty and fifty percent of the population with close to ten percent suffering from chronic insomnia.

Insomnia has no boundaries as to a specific age group children as well as adults can suffer with insomnia, but in most cases, it is more commonly seen in adults and more often increases as a person ages. Women are also noted to suffer with insomnia more than men.


Insomnia is placed into three categories, which include Transient Insomnia insomnia lasting a week or less

Short-term insomnia – insomnia lasting more than one week but not over three weeks

Long-term insomnia also known as chronic insomnia-insomnia that last more than three weeks

In some cases, insomnia may be classified due to the underlying reasons that a person may have insomnia, which can include medical conditions, stress, and sleep disorders to name a few.

Causes of insomnia

Insomnia can be caused due to all kinds of reasons and situations. A few of the most common causes include jet lag, working different shifts, being uncomfortable such as hot, noise, lighting, cold, and strange surroundings, stressful situations such as divorce, death of a loved one, moving, or losing a job, cigarette smoking, illicit drug use, caffeine before bed, and some medications.

In most cases, the above causes go away and the insomnia disappears as well. For some individuals sleep hygiene may be the culprit for their insomnia. To ensure sleep hygiene is right for sleeping certain factors must be met including using the bedroom for sleep only, eating just before going to bed, exercising just before going to bed, going to bed hungry, too much light, too much noise, and bringing work into the bed or bedroom.

Medical causes of insomnia can include breathing problems brought on from lung disease such as asthma or chronic heart disease, congestive heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, acid reflux, hyperthyroidism, urinary problems, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia, to name a few.

Psychiatric causes of insomnia can include depression, psychosis, mania, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder. Physiologic conditions that can be at the root of insomnia include menopause, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, fever, and pain. Even sleep disorders such as sleep walking, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and circadian sleep disturbance.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Not every person has the same symptoms, as every person is different. However, the most common symptoms associated with insomnia include fatigue during the day, sleepiness during the day, changes in mood, poor attention, poor concentration, no energy or less energy, anxiety, headaches, and makes more mistakes.

If you have any of the above symptoms, you should talk with your doctor to learn if you have an underlying medical problem that may at the root of your insomnia.

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