Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep.
The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go.
Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary.
You might also hear about:
Primary causes of insomnia include:
Secondary causes of insomnia include:
Insomnia affects women more than men and older people more than younger ones. Young and middle-age African Americans also have a higher risk.
Other risk factors include:
Symptoms of insomnia include:
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your medical history and sleep history.
They might tell you to keep a sleep diary for a week or two, keeping track of your sleep patterns and how you feel during the day. They may talk to your bed partner about how much and how well you’re sleeping. You might also have special tests at a sleep center.
Acute insomnia may not need treatment.
If it’s hard for you to do everyday activities because you’re tired, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for a short time. Medicines that work quickly but briefly can help you avoid problems like drowsiness the next day.
Don’t use over-the-counter sleeping pills for insomnia. They might have side effects, and they tend to work less well over time.
For chronic insomnia, you’ll need treatment for the conditions or health problems that are keeping you awake. Your doctor might also suggest behavioral therapy. This can help you change the things you do that make insomnia worse and learn what you can do to promote sleep.
Our bodies and brains need sleep so they can repair themselves. It’s also crucial for learning and keeping memories. If insomnia is keeping you awake, you could have:
Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you beat insomnia. Here are some tips:
Home Sleep Center provides behavioral treatments for insomnia that do not involve medications. Sleeping medications can be beneficial in the short term but can cause adverse effects and may not properly treat insomnia in the long term. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), a behavioral treatment, is the first-line treatment as recommended by the American College of Physicians with proven short- and long-term efficacy. Additionally, we have studied Mindfulness-Based Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (MBBT-I), and our research shows that this behavioral treatment is also efficacious with a good patient acceptability.