What is Insomnia

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Insomnia Definition


Insomnia is defined as inadequate or poor-quality sleep. Types of insomnia include:

  • Transient insomnia- lasts from one night to a few weeks
  • Intermittent insomnia-happens from time to time
  • Chronic insomnia-happens on most nights and lasts a month or more

Insomnia may take the form of difficulty falling asleep, or middle-of-the-night or early-morning awakening.

Over the course of a year about one third of adults experience some level of insomnia, and 10%-15% have more severe or chronic insomnia. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Insomnia is not a disease. Instead, it is a result of a behavior or a symptom of an underlying mental or physical problem. There are many causes of insomnia.

Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following:

  • A life crisis or stress
  • A change in the sleep environment, including factors such as noise, light, or temperature
  • Sleep/wake schedule problems, such as those due to jet lag or temporary shift work
  • Side effects of medication

Chronic insomnia often results from a combination of factors. Medical conditions or factors that may disrupt sleep include:

Chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioral factors. These include:

For some people, insomnia is aggravated by:

  • Changes in time zone after a long flight (‘Jet Lag')
  • Expecting to have difficulty sleeping and worrying about it
  • Excessive napping in the afternoon or evening


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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO