Sleeplessness / Insomnia

Sleeplessness, also known as Insomnia, is a sleep disorder in which there is trouble to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. While the term is sometimes used to describe a disorder as diagnosed by polysomnographic or actigraphic evidence, this is often practically defined as a positive response to either of two questions: “do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?”.

Insomnia is most often thought of as both a medical sign and a symptom that can accompany several sleep, medical, and psychiatric disorders characterized by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep or sleep of poor quality. Insomnia is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomnia can occur at any age, but it is particularly common in the elderly. Insomnia can be short term (up to three weeks) or long term (above 3–4 weeks); it can lead to memory problems, depression, irritability and an increased risk of heart disease and automobile related accidents.

Types of Insomnia :

Insomnia can be classified as transient, acute, or chronic.

  • Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week. It can be caused by another disorder, by changes in the sleep environment, by the timing of sleep, severe depression, or by stress.
  • Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of less than a month. Insomnia is present when there is difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or when the sleep that is obtained is non-refreshing or of poor quality.
  • Chronic insomnia lasts for longer than a month. It can be caused by another disorder, or it can be a primary disorder. People with high levels of stress hormones or shifts in the levels of cytokines are more likely than others to have chronic insomnia.

Symptoms of Insomnia

  • difficulty falling asleep, including difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position
  • waking during the night and being unable to return to sleep
  • feeling unrefreshed upon waking
  • daytime sleepiness, irritability or anxiety
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