Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and affects many individuals ability to function during the daytime. Insomnia is most common among women and older adults.

  • Adjustment Insomnia – When falling asleep and staying asleep lasts a few nights to three months. It is usually brought on by excitement or stress.
  • Chronic Insomnia - Insomnia that lasts at least one month.

What Causes Insomnia

  • Psychological – Persistent stress, psychophysiological (learned) insomnia.
  • Lifestyle – stimulants and alcohol consumption prior to bed, shift work, exercise prior to bed, sleeping pills.
  • Environmental – Avoiding noise and keeping your room quiet is essential for healthy sleep. Light can also disrupt your sleep. Use shades or heavy curtains to keep your bedroom dark.
  • Psychiatric Illness – depression can lead to insomnia. Certain medications that treat psychiatric illnesses can also cause insomnia.
  • Sleep Related Breathing Disorders – People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea wake themselves several times throughout the night. This fragmented sleep pattern can cause individuals to suffer from daytime sleepiness and long periods of wakefulness.
  • Periodic Limb Movements – Periodic limb jerks that occur during the night can cause hundreds of brief interruptions of sleep every night. This results in restless disturbed sleep.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflex (Heartburn) - During sleep, the stomach contents may back up in the throat. This can cause multiple awakenings and result in coughing and choking during sleep. Medications or sleeping with your head elevated may alleviate the symptoms.