According to the American Psychiatric Association, insomnia is a condition in which people have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and/or are waking up too early in the morning. As the most common sleep disorder, insomnia is diagnosed to individuals who experience poor sleep quality or quantity that causes distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
Insomnia is common, affecting 10% to 35% of the US population. Women, older adults, and individuals with physical or emotional problems report insomnia more frequently. Although women are more likely than men to report sleep difficulties, when examined objectively women in the general population have a better quality of sleep than men do.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep even when the person has the chance to do so.
Acute insomnia is short-term and lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Chronic insomnia is long-term and is defined as insomnia symptoms occurring least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
Sleepiness during the day, fatigue, grumpiness, problems with concentration or memory.
Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, waking up not feeling rested.
Types of Insomnia
There are two different types of insomnia, depending on its origin:
Primary insomnia: sleep problems that aren’t linked to any other health condition/problem
Secondary insomnia: trouble sleeping because of a health condition (asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, heartburn, pain, medication, substance use (i.e. alcohol)
Causes of primary/secondary insomnia:
Primary: stress, noise/light/temperature, changes to sleep schedule/jet lag
Secondary: mental health issues, medications for different conditions (colds), pain/discomfort at night, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, caffeine/tobacco/alcohol use
How much sleep do you really need?
With aging, sleep patterns tend to change. Most people find that aging causes them to have a harder time falling asleep. After 65, you may tend to get tired earlier and wake up earlier because you spend less time in deep sleep.
Insomnia can affect anyone. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing insomnia symptoms. Some of these risk factors are listed below.
Women may be more prone to sleep trouble’s like insomnia due to certain phases of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. These biological changes disrupt sleep and unhealthy sleep habits maintain the pattern.
A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll found that older people (65+) were more likely to say they wake up during the night (39% vs. 31% of 30-49 year olds). This could be due to the fact that as we age, there are certain biological changes that make it more difficult to sleep
Chronic sleep problems like insomnia impact 50-80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10 to 18% of those in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
According to the 2010 Sleep in America poll, African Americans reported the least amount of sleep, while also stating they require less sleep. Hispanics had higher reports of insomnia due to financial, employment, personal relationship, or health-related concerns.
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SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR IF INSOMNIA MAY INTERFERE WITH YOUR LIFE.