Insomnia Symptoms, Causes, Remedies, and Cures
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Insomnia definition and facts
- What is insomnia?
- 3 classes of insomnia based on the duration of symptoms and signs
- Signs and symptoms of insomnia
- Who gets insomnia?
- What causes insomnia?
- Insomnia caused by stress and lifestyle factors
- When should I call the doctor or other health care professional if I can't sleep?
- Is there a test to diagnose the condition?
- What are the treatments for insomnia; can it be cured?
- Natural and home remedies to cure insomnia
- Sleep hygiene
- Stimulus control
- Sleep restriction
- Benzodiazepine, non-benzodiazepine, and antidepressant medications to cure insomnia
- Melatonin, Rozerem, and Belsomra for problems sleeping
- Can insomnia be cured?
- Insomnia FAQs
- Find a local Sleep Specialist in your town
Insomnia definition and facts
- Insomnia is a condition characterized by poor quality and/or quantity of sleep, despite adequate opportunity to sleep, which leads to daytime functional impairment.
- Many diseases, syndromes, and psychiatric conditions may be responsible for causing insomnia.
- Some common signs and symptoms of include:
- Sometimes insomnia may be unrelated to any underlying condition.
- There are several useful non-medical behavioral techniques available for treating the problem.
- Medications are widely used to treat insomnia in conjunction with non-medical strategies.
- Sleep specialists are doctors who can play an important role in evaluating and treating long-standing (chronic) insomnia.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both, despite adequate opportunity and time to sleep, leading to impaired daytime functioning. Insomnia may be a cause of or result of poor quality and/or quantity of sleep.
Insomnia is very common. Ninety percent of the general population has experienced acute insomnia at least once. Approximately 10% of the population may suffer from chronic (long-standing) insomnia.
The problem affects people of all ages including children, although it is more common in adults and its frequency increases with age. In general, women are affected more frequently than men.
3 classes of insomnia based on the duration of symptoms and signs
- Transient insomnia: lasts one week or less and may be termed transient insomnia
- Short-term insomnia: lasts more than one week but resolves in less than three weeks
- Long-term or chronic insomnia lasts more than three weeks.
Insomnia can also be classified based on the underlying reasons for insomnia, for example:
- Sleep hygiene
- Existing health problems or other diseases
- Sleep disorders
- Stress factors
It's important to make a distinction between insomnia and other similar terminology; short duration sleep and sleep deprivation.
- Short duration sleep may be normal in some patients who may require less time for sleep without feeling daytime impairment, the central symptom in the definition of insomnia.
- Sleep deprivation: In insomnia, adequate time and opportunity for sleep is available, whereas in sleep deprivation, lack of sleep is due to lack of opportunity or time to sleep because of voluntary or intentional avoidance of sleep.
Signs and symptoms of insomnia
Impairment of daytime functioning is the defining and the most common symptom of insomnia.
Other common symptoms include:
Who gets insomnia?
There are no specific risk factors for insomnia because of the variety of underlying causes that may lead to insomnia. The medical and psychiatric conditions listed earlier may be considered risk factors for insomnia if untreated or difficult to treat. Some of the emotional and environmental situations that were also mentioned above may act as risk factor for insomnia.
Next: What causes insomnia?
Find out what women really need.