Most people at some time experience sleepless nights or insomnia. It is thought that ten percent of the population experience chronic insomnia and about fifty percent are effected to some degree. Insomnia is not a disease, but a symptom of something else. The definition of insomnia is “habitual sleeplessness, not being able to stay asleep or not being able to fall asleep or both”. Insomnia can be contributed to the amount of sleep one gets and also the quality of sleep a person gets. People tend to have a large range in the amount of sleep they need, that is why insomnia is not defined by the amount of sleep a person gets. Most people know when they are suffering from insomnia based on how they feel the next day. The medical community will diagnose insomnia based on how long the problem has been occurring. Not all medical professionals agree on the symptoms of insomnia, but general guidelines are listed below.
Transient Insomnia – Insomnia that last a week or less.
Short Term Insomnia – Insomnia that last between one and three weeks.
Chronic Insomnia – Insomnia that last more then three weeks.
Some Basic statistics about Insomnia. All age groups are effected by insomnia. Insomnia tends to effect more women then men in adults. As people age insomnia tends to increase. Insomnia is most common in lower income levels, people with mental health problems and alcoholics. Stress is considered the major cause or trigger for insomnia. It is important to do something about transient and short term insomnia so it does not develop into chronic insomnia.
What can cause insomnia? Insomnia can be caused by a wide range of things. Typically they can be categorized into the groups psychiatric, medical or situational factors. Some of the common causes of short term and transient insomnia include – work schedule changes, irritating noise, jet lag, stress, sleeping room temperature, medical problems, drug withdraws, altitude.
Chronic insomnia is usually related to a medical condition or psychiatric condition. Some psychiatric things that cause insomnia are stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Doctors use the symptom of insomnia in diagnoses of mental illness and depression. This does not mean that if you suffer from insomnia that you suffer from depression or a mental illness.
There are also several physical conditions that can cause insomnia. These include – disorder in the circadian rhythm, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, heart condition, angina, acid reflux, asthma, sleep apnea, parkinson’s or alzheimer’s disease and brain trauma. People who fall into the following categories are considered high risk for insomnia – travelers, people who change shifts often, senior adults, pregnant women, students and women experiencing menopause. There are also several different types of medication related to insomnia, these include – cold and asthma medication, high blood pressure medication along with medication used to treat anxiety and depression. Some other causes of insomnia can include caffeine, nicotine, alcohol (will cause poor quality of sleep) and a bed partner who is disruptive.
Some common symptoms of insomnia include – not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, problems concentrating when awake, problem remembering things, poor coordination, bad moods, trouble staying awake while driving. When people have these symptoms they sometimes make their insomnia worse by treating them with excessive amounts of caffeine, energy drinks and stimulants.
Paul has been a hypnotherapist for 13 years. He has been practicing meditation since 1994. A trained yoga and meditation teacher. His site can be found at Hypnosis Review Quarterly. For information please visit Insomnia Cures or Cure for Insomnia