What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. If you have it, you have trouble falling asleep, falling asleep, or both.

 What is insomnia?

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. If you have it, you have trouble falling asleep, falling asleep, or both. 

As a result, you will sleep poorly or have poor quality sleep. You may not feel rested when you get up.

What are the types of insomnia?

Insomnia can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-term). Acute insomnia is common. The most common causes include stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. It usually lasts for days or weeks.

Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or more. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary. This means that they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem, such as certain medical problems, medications, and other sleep disorders. Substances like caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can also be a cause.

Sometimes the main problem is chronic insomnia. This means that it has no other cause. Its origin is not well understood, but long-term stress, emotional distress, travel and shift work can be factors. In general, primary insomnia lasts for more than a month.

Who is at risk of insomnia?

Insomnia is common. It affects women more frequently than men. You can have it at any age, but it is more common in older adults. You also have an increased risk of insomnia if:

  • Have a lot of stress
  • You are depressed or have other emotional problems, such as divorce or the death of a spouse
  • You have money problems
  • Work at night or frequent changes in your work schedule
  • Travel long distances with change of hours
  • Has a sedentary lifestyle
  • You are African American: Research shows that African Americans take longer to fall asleep, do not sleep well, and have more sleep-related breathing problems than whites.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Insomnia symptoms include:
  • Stay awake for a long time before falling asleep
  • Sleep alone for short periods
  • Being awake for much of the night
  • Feeling like I haven't slept at all
  • Waking up too early

What other problems can insomnia cause?

Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and lack of energy. It can also make you feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. 

You may have trouble concentrating on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering. Insomnia can also cause other serious problems. 

For example, it can make you feel sleepy while driving, which could lead to a car accident.

How is insomnia diagnosed?

To diagnose insomnia, your healthcare provider will consider:

  • Your medical history
  • Your sleep history. Your provider will ask for details about your sleeping habits.
  • A physical exam to rule out other medical problems that can cause insomnia
  • May recommend a sleep study. Sleep study measures how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems

What are the treatments for insomnia?

Treatments include lifestyle changes, therapy, and medications:

  • Lifestyle changes, including good sleeping habits, often help alleviate acute (short-term) insomnia. These changes can make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • One type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, can help alleviate anxiety related to chronic insomnia.
  • Various medications can also help alleviate insomnia and allow you to re-establish a regular sleep schedule.
  • If your insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, it's important to treat it, if possible.

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