What Is Insomnia? - The Sleep Institute

What Is Insomnia?


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can cause sleeplessness, make it difficult for you to stay asleep, or make you wake up too quickly and be unable to sleep again. Insomnia can deplete your energy and mood as well as your health, quality of work and quality of life. How much sleep will be enough varies from individual to individual, although most adults need between seven and eight hours a night. However insomniacs who suffer from sleeplessness often do not require as much sleep as those who do not suffer from insomnia. 

Many adults may suffer short-term (acute) insomnia at some point in their lives, which might stay for days or weeks. It is typically due to stress or a traumatic experience. Yet, some persons have persistent (chronic) insomnia that lasts a month or longer. Insomnia could be the primary issue or could be a consequence of another medical problem or medicine. A few changes in your everyday routine can be helpful to make your insomniac life better.

Woman Awake In Bed

Types Of Insomnia:

There are two types of insomnia: 

Primary Insomnia:

 It means that your sleeplessness is unrelated to another health condition or issue.

Secondary Insomnia:

It means that your insomniac issues are caused by a medical condition (such as asthma, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn), pain, medicine, or substance abuse (like alcohol). 

Regardless of the type of insomnia there are two ways that insomnia will present itself 1) as symptoms of insomnia or 2) as the syndrome of insomnia. Many people experience symptoms of insomnia occasionally but that does not mean they have a serious medical problem. Those people simply need advice to manage the sleep behaviors that contribute to insomnia. However those people who have the syndrome of insomnia will feel the effects of poor quality sleep the next day such as fatigue, irritability, poor concentration and memory as well as changes in mood and behavior. The syndrome of insomnia requires specialized help from experts who treat insomnia. 

Symptoms Of Insomnia:

If you are an insomniac, you may experience a variety of symptoms such as:

  • You may stay awake for a long time before falling asleep
  • You may fall asleep for short periods, which is more prevalent in younger adults
  • You may wake up frequently during the night or remain awake for most of the night. It is the most prevalent symptom, and it primarily affects elderly persons
  • Waking up too soon and failing to return to sleep
  • Sleep deprivation might cause you to wake up tired and make sleepy during the day
  • You may also have difficulty concentrating on your daily duties. 
  • Insomnia might make you anxious, or easily irritated.

You should consult a doctor to get an insomnia test.

Risk Factors For Getting Insomnia:

Insomnia can occur at any age, but several conditions make it more likely, including: 

  • Traveling across time zones
  • Working in shifts
  • Being older
  • Caffeine
  • Medications
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Having a family history of insomnia
  • Experiencing traumatic life events
  • Being pregnant
  • Going through menopause

Child Looking At Tablet Not Sleeping

Insomnia in Children:

Children, like adults, can get insomnia for the same reasons. Some of these could be: 

  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Mental or physical health issues

Insomnia can occur if your child has difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, or if they often wake up too early. In children, common symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Tiredness or restlessness 
  • Anger and mood swings 
  • Memory and focus issues

You should consult a doctor to get an insomnia test for your child. Setting a fixed bedtime and sticking to it is usually the first step in addressing insomnia in children. Other helpful measures include:

  • Developing a relaxing evening habit
  • Following healthy sleep habits, such as spending less computer time near bedtime
  • Decreasing stress in your child's life

Insomnia in Women:

While Insomnia can affect anyone, women are more likely than men to suffer from it. Sleeplessness can cause daytime tiredness and contribute to a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Several factors interact to make sleep more difficult for women. Sleep is influenced by a variety of elements related to various aspects of a woman's health. 

Many women suffer from insomniac disorders, mental health concerns, poor sleep habits, circadian rhythm disturbances, and other medical issues, which are common causes of insomnia. Yet, many of these factors do not affect men and women equally. Women frequently experience specific problems with getting enough sleep as a consequence of natural causes or societal and cultural behaviors.

Man In Hotel For Business Travel

Insomnia And Travel:

Travel insomnia is a temporary sleeplessness disorder that affects regular travelers. Travel insomnia sufferers frequently struggle to have Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in a new environment, despite their best attempts. The "First Night Effect" refers to the fact that the first night is usually the worst. The theory is that a change in sleep patterns, surroundings, or even physiology can result in a bad night's sleep, especially on the first night when the brain and body are adjusting to a new environment.

Aside from an uncomfortable pillow, jetlag, and loud noises, other changes can be attributed to travel-related insomniac issues. One study looked at a focus group of persons sleeping in a new location for two sleep sessions. The researchers discovered that most participants' brains remained active over the first night. It implies that one hemisphere of the brain remains active to process and respond to noises of danger or threat. 

When our subconscious is not completely at peace in a new environment, our brains refuse to shut down completely, as they would in the protection of our own homes. This effect normally fades when a person spends more time in a new environment.

Man Not Performing Well At work Because He Is Suffering From Insomnia

Insomnia And Work Place:

Insomnia frequently leads to more work-time loss, poorer performance, lower productivity, and workplace accidents. Employees have more trouble concentrating, learning, and communicating when they do not get enough sleep. Memory lapses worsen. Problem-solving skills diminish. Sleeplessness is responsible for about 7% of all costly work-related accidents and errors and nearly 24% of the overall expenses of all accidents and errors.


The Effects of Insomnia On Mental Health

Insomnia And Mental Health:

Insomnia can affect mental health and lead to many psychological issues. You may be more probable to feel anxious, sad, or suicidal if you are an insomniac. You may be more likely to have psychotic episodes - poor sleep can trigger mania, psychotic symptoms, or paranoia, or worsen existing symptoms

You may feel lonely or isolated - for example, if you lack the energy to meet people. You will struggle to concentrate or make decisions and plans, and you will feel frustrated.


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