Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Acute insomnia is common and often is brought on by situations such as stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. Acute insomnia lasts for days or weeks.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem. Certain medical conditions, medicines, sleep disorders, and substances can cause secondary insomnia.
In contrast, primary insomnia isn’t due to medical problems, medicines, or other substances. It is its own distinct disorder, and its cause isn’t well understood. Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset.
Insomnia can develop to be more harmful than just causing sleeping difficulties. Due to its symptoms, insomnia may result in mental triggers leading to depression, anxiety, sleeping during the day and impaired social interactions.
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep (that is, waking up many times during the night), without necessarily having had any difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Not feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep
- Daytime sleepiness and lack of energy
- Feelings of anxiety, depression or irritability
- Trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning or remembering
If you are diagnosed with Insomnia, your doctor may suggest changes to your sleep routines and sleep environment or prescribe medications. If you insomnia is caused by other underlying sleep disorders, you may be prescribed therapy such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).