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Insomnia

Insomnia is a very common disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. One in three adults has Insomnia, at least some of the time, while one in 10 have chronic Insomnia, or Insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week and lasts more than a month, according to the National Institutes of Health. Insomnia occurs more often in women than men and, although it can occur in people of all ages, it is more common in older adults.

Causes of Insomnia

  • Psychological factors such as stress, emotional distress or depression.
  • Medical conditions, other sleep disorders, medicines or physical factors like illness, pain or discomfort.
  • Lifestyle habits such as use of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol or exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Environmental factors like noise, light or extreme temperatures.
  • Other things that interfere with sleep, for example jet lag, shift work or alternating work hours.

Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

  • Lying awake a long time before falling asleep, staying awake much of the night or waking up too early.
  • Sleeping for only short periods of time.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Fatigue, lack of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks, paying attention, learning or remembering.
  • Feeling irritable, anxious or depressed.

Risks

People with untreated Insomnia can experience excessive daytime sleepiness, have difficulty concentrating and have increased risk for accidents and illness. Over time, it can significantly reduce quality of life.

What to Do

If you suffer from Insomnia, see your physician or one of our board certified sleep specialists who can help identify the type of insomnia you have and the cause. Usually Insomnia will be diagnosed based on your medical history, your sleep habits and a physical exam. A polysomnogram (PSG), which is an overnight sleep study, may be recommended. Lifestyle changes can often help relieve short-term Insomnia by making it easier to fall and to remain asleep. A type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help relieve the anxiety linked to chronic Insomnia. Your doctor may also prescribe one of several medicines that can also help to relieve Insomnia and re-establish a regular sleep schedule.