Facts About Insomnia

Page content


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. For some people with insomnia, it is a minor annoyance that occurs sporadically. For others, it is a chronic condition that affects them three or more days each week, sometimes for months at a time, according to the National Institutes of Health. Insomnia can leave you feeling drained, irritable and fatigued. Keeping up with your daily routine is a constant struggle for a person who is not getting enough sleep. If you suffer from this sleep disorder, it may help you to learn the facts about insomnia. If you understand the causes of insomnia you may determine the best way to break your cycle of sleeplessness.

What is Insomnia?

More people suffer from insomnia than you might think. Most people believe that it is a complete inability to sleep. While some people do spend their nights pacing the halls, for other people insomnia manifests itself in the inability to stay asleep or sleep that is not restive.

Types of Insomnia

There are two forms of insomnia, primary and comorbid. Only 10 percent of people suffer from primary insomnia. The majority of people suffer from comorbid, or secondary, insomnia which is a sleep disorder that results from an underlying cause. Addressing the cause of secondary insomnia is the best way to resolve it, according to the National Institutes of Health.


Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population experiences occasional sleeplessness and 10 percent of the population struggles with chronic insomnia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


As you age, you are more likely to experience insomnia. People over the age of 60 are more likely to experience bouts of insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Women are more likely to experience insomnia than men, primarily due to the physical and hormonal changes they go through over the course of their lives. Hormonal changes during menses, pregnancy and perimenopause can cause physical and emotional changes that affect a woman’s ability to sleep. The National Women’s Health Information Center notes that woman are also more likely to suffer from medical conditions linked to secondary insomnia such as depression, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome.


One of the interesting facts about insomnia that shouldn’t be overlooked is the link that exists between insufficient sleep and the development, onset and management of chronic mental and physical illnesses such as depression, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although it is easy to take for granted, the CDC notes that more healthcare providers and public health professionals are recognizing the important role that sleep plays in maintaining good health.


There are many sleep aids available to help people who have trouble sleeping; however, these medications can be addictive, have side effects and fail to address the cause of the sleeplessness. The majority of cases of insomnia are caused by an underlying health condition or bad sleep habits. Treating medical conditions, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and adopting relaxing bedtime routines can be a more effective solution to insomnia than taking sleep medication that only masks the symptom.


Women’s Health: Insomnia


Medline Plus: Sleeping Difficulty


Mayo Clinic: Insomnia


Centers for disease Control and Prevention: Sleep and Sleep Disorders