Insomnia literally means “no sleep” in Latin. Medically, the disorder refers to anyone who has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and also to individuals with both problems. The problem is very common..
When insomnia lasts for a few days or weeks, it is typically referred to as acute insomnia. And if it is ongoing for months or years on end, this is known as chronic insomnia. A variety of different factors can contribute to both acute and chronic insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
Acute insomnia is generally short-lived and is often related to a particularly stressful or emotional life event. Family and financial issues, work-related stress or undergoing trauma are common causes of acute insomnia. In contrast, chronic insomnia lasts longer, and it’s often a side effect of another condition or lifestyle choice. For this reason, most types of chronic insomnia are also referred to as secondary insomnias. This type of insomnia can be a side effect of certain medications or a symptom of some medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and others.
There is another form of chronic insomnia known as primary insomnia. This is a form of insomnia that is not a symptom of other conditions or a side effect of medications. The cause of primary insomnia is often difficult to determine.
The treatment for insomnia will vary depending on its severity and duration. For some forms of acute insomnia, the issues may resolve on their own over time. Similarly, chronic insomnia can sometimes be fixed by changing medications or treating the underlying condition.
For others, finding a treatment for insomnia may be as simple as setting a better bedroom routine, banishing electronics from the bedroom or practicing simple at-home relaxation techniques. Others may need more extensive therapy or medications to help with their sleep issues, so it’s best to speak with a health care provider about the right options for you.
SOURCES: National Sleep Foundation, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2013
Study found more adolescents getting less rest because of temptations of technology
Know the risk/reward ratio of these drugs
That could take a toll on child's development, researchers say
Phases in and around menopause play a big role in insomnia, CDC study finds
New research says yes, and better-quality ZZZZs may help ease other mental health concerns
Study ties insomnia to heightened odds for heart disease, stroke
Pregnant women with apnea or insomnia have roughly twice the risk of delivering before 34 weeks, study finds
A few bad nights might not hurt, but chronic sleep problems may be cause for concern, researcher says
Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome are less common in those with a reason to get up in the morning, study finds
Treating insomnia might help improve emotional well-being, researchers suggest
Well-intentioned tips to encourage better sleep often backfire, study finds
Some even report that others can hear the sound, study finds
Study found it as effective as talk therapy for improving sleep and depression
Some symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia, are still a problem long after treatment
Chronic wakefulness might leave its mark on cardiovascular system, study suggests
Check out these tips from sleep doctors on getting a good night of shuteye
Researchers asked why one popular drug is prescribed over another
One-third are prescribed for conditions like pain or migraine with little scientific backup, study says
Adults with chronic insomnia 3 times more likely to develop the respiratory disorder, study suggests
Changing hormones, anxiety and heartburn can lead to insomnia
Consumer Reports finds the non-prescription drugs are taken for periods far longer than their intended use
4 in 10 report insomnia, survey reveals
A high number of patients with asthma have insomnia, as well, study finds.
Restless legs syndrome, schizophrenia also have biological ties to sleep disorders, research suggests
Interactive program aims to build better sleep habits, researchers say
American Heart Association says it's too soon to say what's the optimal amount of shut-eye
Deprivation can make you cranky and sick, and take a toll on your GPA, sleep specialist says
Study shows internal clock and hourglass may sometimes be at odds with each other
Post-traumatic stress disorder increases the risk even more, study shows
Other uses include insomnia, pain and anxiety, researchers say
Physicians' group recommends cognitive behavioral therapy before drugs for insomnia
People with insomnia said to have more white matter abnormalities
Not getting medications, therapies for condition costs about $100 billion a year, researchers report
Insomnia can disrupt hormones, and may play a role in developing the blood sugar condition, expert says
Those who slept fewer hours, but without disruptions, felt more positive the next day
Women who reported insomnia were less sexually active, study finds
Study found cognitive behavioral therapy led to twice as many people getting a good night's sleep
Poor sleep, insomnia and sleep apnea are more common among minority groups, study shows
Ambien, other sedatives aren't the best treatment for insomnia, experts say
Relaxation techniques and sleep education safer than pills, researchers say
Tolerance dips based on frequency, severity of sleep disorder, researchers say
Some of the problems included anxiety, depression and ADHD, researchers say
Study found all three factors appear to be linked to a raised risk of bad dreams
But finding doesn't prove cause-and-effect relationship
These disorders linked to risk for car accidents and poor health, study suggests