Insomnia is a condition where either falling or staying asleep is difficult, leading to problems with daytime functioning. Insomnia is not the same thing as sleep deprivation, which is caused by a lack of opportunity to sleep.

Insomnia is very common and affects people of all ages, 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 people in the United States will experience insomnia at least once, and that 10 percent suffer from chronic, or repeated, insomnia.

There are three types insomnia, based on the length of time a person experiences it for.

  • Transient: Lasts one week or less
  • Short-term: Lasts 1-3 weeks
  • Long-term or chronic: Lasts more than three weeks

Insomnia Causes

These are the most common reasons a person might experience insomnia:

  • Physical discomfort caused by surroundings, like noise and light
  • Irregular work hours or shift schedule changes
  • Jet lag
  • Stress
  • Loss of job or loved one
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Hunger
  • Eating too close to bedtime

There are several medical conditions that can also cause insomnia, including:

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