Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sleepiness during the day
- General tiredness
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Feeling tired upon waking
Types of Insomnia
Primary insomnia indicates sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition.
Secondary insomnia indicates sleep problems caused by a health condition (such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn), pain, medication, or substance abuse.
Acute vs Chronic
Insomnia can vary in both duration and frequency. It can be short-term (acute insomnia) or can last a long time (chronic insomnia). It can also come and go, with periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.
Causes of Acute Insomnia may include:
- Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, moving)
- Emotional or physical discomfort
- Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that interfere with sleep
- Some medications (for example those used to treat colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma) may interfere with sleep
- Interferences in normal sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to night shift, for example)
Causes of Chronic Insomnia may include:
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Chronic stress
- Pain or discomfort at night