What is Insomnia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people stay awake at night and they can’t get sufficient sleep to be restful. Limited sleep results in the form of many health issues like weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes over time. Today, we’ll discuss what is insomnia, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Insomnia? 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty staying awake than desired, waking up during the night, and early falling into sleep. Quality rest and sleep play a significant role in performing various functions in your life. It would impact your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life.

  • Approximately 6-10% of adult exhibit severe symptoms that is similar to the diagnostic criteria of insomnia
  • A third of all adults have experienced the symptoms of insomnia disorder
  • Sleeping disorder is a very common problem, and it impacts approximately 70% of US people annually

An adult person requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. The amount requires to perform various functions varies from person to person. However, the quality of sleep is equally important as the quantity of sleep.

Symptoms of Insomnia 

Some of the main symptoms are as follows;

  • Problems with memory and difficulty to focus and concentrate
  • Depressed mood and instability
  • Fatigued and tiresome feelings in the daytime
  • Having difficulty in going to sleep
  • Going back to sleep is also difficult
  • Waking in the middle of the night

Causes of Insomnia 

Many psychological, physiological, and environmental factors could cause in developing an insomnia disorder. They’re as follows;

  • Restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and other sleeping disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological disorders
  • Impact of using the substance or the medication
  • Thyroid disease, menopause, hormonal changes due to menstruation, and other issues
  • Heartburn or other gastrointestinal disorder
  • Fibromyalgia, chronic pain because of arthritis, or some other condition
  • Cancer and other chronic diseases
  • Mental health problems like depression, anxiety disorders, and others
  • Bad sleeping habits and unhealthy lifestyle
  • Financial troubles, relationships, problems with job, and other life stressing issues

Sleeping disorder is more common among females than males because of the hormonal shift and pregnancy. Menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are some of the main hormonal shifts that could disrupt their sleep. However, it becomes common after the age of 60, and elderly people won’t have a sound sleep because of the physical changes in their bodies due to aging. Sometimes, certain types of medicines and medical conditions would disturb their sleep.

Types of Insomnia 

Some of the main types of Insomnia are as follows;

Acute Insomnia

It comprises of difficulty in sleep in the short term and the symptoms go away in a few weeks

Chronic Insomnia

When the disorder disturbs your sleep for three days regularly every week and it goes on for three months or more

Onset Insomnia

Here you would have difficulty in going to sleep and it happens due to mental health issues, usage of caffeine, or other triggering factors.

Maintenance Insomnia

Having difficult to stay in the sleeping state after going to sleep, and you keep on waking up repetitively. It happens due to any mental health problems and thinking about lacking sleep would aggravate things.

Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood

As the name implies, it is common among children when they don’t go to bed and sleep. Kids with this condition need to follow a regular sleeping routine and learn self-soothing techniques.

Consequence of Insomnia 

When you can’t get sufficient sleep, then it would result in the form of the following issues;

  • Problems in the relationship, school, and work
  • Difficult to focus and concentration and memory issues
  • Low energy and fatigued feeling in the daytime
  • Depressed, anxious, and irritable

Diagnosis of Insomnia 

Your doctor would examine you physically and ask you a series of questions to know about symptoms and sleeping problems in order to diagnose insomnia. One of the main deciding factors is to know about your sleeping history. Your doctor would also check the following things;

Blood Test

Your doctor would require you to take a blood test in order to rule out other conditions like low iron levels and thyroid problems that impact your sleep

Sleep Diary

Your doctor would ask you to maintain a record of your sleep pattern in terms of wake-up time, going to bed, caffeine usage, nap timing, etc. for a week or two. It would help the doctor to analyze the behavioral pattern that is disturbing your sleep.

Sleep Study

If the doctor thinks that your insomnia is happening due to a sleeping disorder like sleep apnea, then he would refer you to the sleep disorder center to study your sleep with polysomnograms.

Treatment of Insomnia 

The treatments of Insomnia are as follows;

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT-I intervenes in the sleep disorder and helps you to recognize such behaviors, habits, and thoughts that aggravate the sleeping issues and promotes sound sleep. CBT also assists you to manage the underlying cause of the problem.


Changes in lifestyle and behavior would help you to improve the quality of sleep. In the short term, sleeping pills and other medicines help you in the short term. Your doctor would recommend you the type and quantity of medication and its usage for how long.

Prevention Tips 

Lifestyle changes help you to improve the quality of sleep; some of the things that you should keep in mind are as follows;

  • Meditation, good and interesting books, and soothing music
  • Cool sanctuary and turning off the lights of your bedroom
  • Avoid smocking
  • Stop using all the electronic devices 30 minutes before going to sleep
  • Going to bed and waking up time should be the same
  • Reduce the usage of chocolates, soda, coffee, and caffeine during the day, and especially at night
  • Being active physically and engaging in physical activities
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meal before going to bed

Conclusion: What is Insomnia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is insomnia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we’ve realized that a sleeping disorder could badly impact your life routine. If you’re having trouble sleeping, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned prevention tips.