Insomnia Overview

Insomnia is a condition where either falling asleep and/or maintaining a state of sleep is difficult regardless of the time and opportunity to do so. This leads to an impairment or compromise in alert, daytime functioning. Insomnia differs from sleep deprivation because in the latter case, there is no opportunity to sleep.

Insomnia is very common and affects individuals in every age range, although it is more common in adults. Women are also more likely to suffer from sleeplessness than men. It is reported that one-third to one-half of the general population will experience insomnia, and that 10 percent suffer from chronic insomnia.

There are three classes of recognized insomnia, based on length:

  1. Transient insomnia: lasts one week or less
  2. Short-term insomnia: lasts 1-3 weeks
  3. Long-term or chronic: lasts more than 3 weeks

Common Causes of Insomnia:

The list below is for general patient education. There can be other causes for your insomnia.

  • Physical discomfort caused by surroundings (e.g. temperature extremes, noise, light)
  • Irregular work shift schedule
  • Jet lag
  • Stress
  • Loss of job or loved one
  • Drugs
  • Extreme alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine prior to bed
  • Eating or lack thereof prior to bed

Medical Causes of Insomnia:

  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Acid Reflux
  • Obesity
  • Mood disorders – depression or mania
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Fever
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Menopause

 

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