Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the inability to fall asleep, having extreme difficulty falling asleep, or problems staying asleep. People who suffer from insomnia often wake up and can never get back to sleep or are never able to get to sleep in the first place. As a result, they often feel a lack of energy which can interfere with a person’s daily routine. It can also affect your mood, quality of life, and overall health. It is very important for people to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It is estimated that about 30 percent to 50 percent of people in the United States will have insomnia at some point in their life.
While it is common for many people to experience insomnia at some point in their life such as during a time of stress, some people may suffer from chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts much longer than regular insomnia. Chronic insomnia could be the main condition or it could be caused by another factor such as an illness or taking certain medications.
Insomnia symptoms may include difficulty falling asleep at night, awakening during the night, awakening too early, not feeling well rested after a night's sleep, daytime tiredness or sleepiness, irritability, depression or anxiety, difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering, increased errors or accidents, tension headaches, distress in the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract), or having ongoing worries about sleep. It will usually take someone with insomnia about thirty minutes or more to fall asleep. Someone with insomnia may also only six or less hours of sleep for three or more nights a week over a month or more.
What causes insomnia? There are a number of things that can cause insomnia. The most common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, depression, a medical condition, a change in your environment or work schedule, poor sleep habits, medications, caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol use, or even simply eating too much during the hours just before going to bed. Insomnia can also be associated with aging. As we age, insomnia becomes more common. Insomnia as a result of age may be caused by a change in your sleep pattern, a change in your physical or social activity, a change in your overall health, or being on an increased amount of medications.