Facts About Insomnia

It is considered that insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone disorder or a disease. By definition, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time. Because individuals’ sleep needs and habits vary greatly, insomnia cannot be defined by a specific number of hours of sleep that one gets.

Generally, insomnia is classified based on the duration of the problem:

  • symptoms that last less than one week are classified as transient insomnia,
  • symptoms that last between one and three weeks are classified as short-term insomnia,
  • symptoms longer than three weeks are classified as chronic insomnia.

Here are some more interesting facts about insomnia that can help you see the big picture regarding this condition. Insomnia can affect all age groups, but the incidence tends to increase with age. Among adults, it usually affects women more than men. Stress is the most common trigger for short-term and chronic insomnia. There also seems to be a connection between depression, anxiety, and insomnia. If you do not cure your insomnia in time, it may develop into chronic insomnia.

Besides stress, depression and anxiety, there can be many other causes of insomnia. These causes may include situational factors (excessive or unpleasant noise, uncomfortable room temperature, stressful situations in life, withdrawal from drugs, alcohol, sedatives, or stimulant medications, etc.). They may include medical or psychiatric conditions (chronic pain, congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, degenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), or the use of stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine around bedtime, or alcohol.

One of the fun facts about insomnia (well, ya gotta look for some fun somewhere!) is that counting sheep in order to fall asleep is mostly an urban legend, because visualizing bouncy sheep jumping over a wall one after another stimulates the mind rather than it helps set in sleep. A more peaceful or inactive visualization may be more useful.