Insomnia is a sleep disorder that prevents you from being able to sleep well at night. Insomnia often causes you to get an inadequate amount of sleep, even though you have the opportunity to get a full night of sleep.
Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. For most people, it lasts only a few days and goes away without treatment. Roughly one-third of adults get occasional, temporary insomnia. Long-term, chronic insomnia affects less than 10 percent of adults. For these people, insomnia may require treatment.
Insomnia complaints can differ from one person to another. Some people have difficulty falling asleep at night. Others may unintentionally wake up too early in the morning. Some may struggle to stay asleep, waking frequently throughout the night.
Adults with insomnia may feel tired and grumpy all day and may have trouble concentrating on tasks at work or at home. Other insomnia symptoms include:
- Low energy
- Lack of motivation
- Attention, concentration or memory problems
- Poor performance at school or work
- Extreme mood changes
- Daytime sleepiness
- Trouble making errors at work or while driving
- Tension, headaches or stomach aches
- Frustration or worry about your sleep
Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors. Some insomnia cases are caused by external factors such as medical conditions, mental health problems, medications or substances.
Improving sleep hygiene by making changes in bedtime habits and behaviors often eliminates insomnia in adults. If the insomnia does not improve, then seek help from your family doctor or a sleep medicine specialist. Doctors can provide cognitive behavioral therapy to help you improve your sleep habits and eliminate thought patterns that prevent you from sleeping. Some medications also can treat insomnia in adults. These sleeping pills should be used only with the supervision of a doctor.
Insomnia in Children
In children, insomnia is usually a behavioral problem. Many children will not go to bed unless a consistent bedtime is enforced. Children with behavioral insomnia of childhood may stay awake for hours past their bedtime. Some children delay bedtime by bargaining for stories or by getting up from bed frequently to drink water or use the bathroom.
After staying up past their bedtime, children may misbehave or act out. Children react differently to sleep loss than adults. Rather than acting sleepy and sluggish during the daytime, children with insomnia tend to be hyperactive.
The solution to childhood insomnia starts with parenting. By strictly enforcing a bedtime, parents can improve their child’s sleep patterns. Parents need to assert that they decide when it is time for bed and be firm when children try delay tactics.
Watch this entertaining video from Healthmedia to learn more about insomnia: