Insomnia is most frequently defined by an individual's report of sleeping difficulties.
Insomnia is a common problem that approximately half of North American adults report experiencing at some time. Both men and women experience insomnia, although females and elderly are typically affected the most. And, despite common belief, the need for sleep does not decrease with age.
The condition is classified into three groups depending on the length that it lasts:
Although insomnia is not considered a serious medical problem, lack of sleep can seriously impact your quality of life. It can cause a person to feel tired, depressed and irritable, as well as impair their concentration. Most adults need approximately seven to nine hours of sleep to feel completely rested, although it differs for each person.
Insomnia is most often thought of as both a sign and a symptom that can accompany several sleep, medical and psychiatric disorders, characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep or sleep of poor quality. Insomnia is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Some of the most common causes of insomnia include:
Other factors that also can cause insomnia include:
Symptoms of insomnia include:
It is important to identify or rule out medical and psychological causes before deciding on the treatment for insomnia. Attention to sleep hygiene is an important first line treatment strategy and should be tried before any pharmacological approach is considered.
Treatment may include the following: