What is Insomnia?

What is Insomnia?


It is a sleep disorder that results in a difficulty to fall and/or stay asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Tired upon waking


Causes of insomnia include:

  • Significant life stresses such as a death in the family, moving home or job loss
  • Emotional or physical (pain) discomfort
  • Environmental factors such as light, noise and 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
  • Changes in normal sleep schedule such as jet lag or shift work (switching from a day to night shift)
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Chronic stress


How is insomnia treated?

Mild insomnia can be cured by following good sleep habits. Acute insomnia may not require treatment. Moderate to severe insomnia requires following good sleep habits and treatment of any underlying medical conditions.

Additional treatment may include the use of sleep aids and behavioral modification techniques. Sleep aids should only be prescribed by your doctor. Over the counter sleep aids may have undesirable side effects.

Behavioral techniques include relaxation exercise, sleep restriction therapy, and reconditioning.

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