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Can’t Sleep?

If you can’t sleep, you may be wondering if you have insomnia. Insomnia is a complicated condition. What is the definition of insomnia? According to guidelines from a physician group, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.

How long does insomnia last? Insomnia may be characterized based on its duration. Acute insomnia is brief and often happens because of life circumstances (for example, when you can’t fall asleep the night before an exam or after receiving stressful or bad news). Many people may have experienced this type of passing sleep disruption, and it tends to resolve without any treatment.

Chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. Chronic insomnia disorders can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other clinical disorders, and certain medications could lead to a long-term pattern of insufficient sleep. People with chronic insomnia may benefit from some form of treatment to help them get back to healthy sleep patterns. Chronic insomnia can be co morbid, meaning it is linked to another medical or psychiatric issue, although sometimes it’s difficult to understand this cause and effect relationship.

People with insomnia tend to have difficulty falling asleep (onset), staying asleep (maintenance), and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Treatment for insomnia can include behavioral, psychological, medical components or some combination thereof. You and your doctor will need to talk about your particular situation and history of insomnia, as well as its causes, to decide on the best treatment plan.

What are some facts about insomnia? Insomnia is a common sleep problem for adults. The National Institutes of Health estimates that roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep disruption.

Insomnia is a common problem encountered in family medicine that causes significant morbidity for patients. A survey of Canadian adults found that 40.2% met at least one symptom of insomnia, 13.4% met all criteria and 13% had consulted a healthcare provider for sleep difficulties at least once in their lifetime. Patients with insomnia have daytime fatigue, increased physical discomfort and increased psychological distress.

Patients with Chronic Insomnia have an increased risk of major depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. Chronic insomnia often has a bi-directional relationship with co morbid chronic disease including chronic pain and mental illness. Treating insomnia can provide relief to the direct symptoms of insomnia but also improve the suffering from co morbid disease.

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