Insomnia means difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

How common is insomnia?

Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported sleep problems affecting about in four people.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as an inability to go to sleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrested after sleep for at least three nights a week for at least three months.

How much sleep is needed?

Most adults need to get seven or more hours of sleep a night to feel rested.

How does insomnia affect you?

Chronic or long-term insomnia makes it difficult to accomplish routine tasks like going to work or school and taking care of yourself.

What are effects of insomnia on a person’s health?

Insomnia can lead to or contribute to the development of other health problems, such as depression, heart disease, and stroke.

What are the different types of insomnia?

There are two types of insomnia:

  • Primary insomniaPrimary insomnia is a disorder diagnosed after ruling out other medical conditions as a cause.
  • Secondary insomniaSecondary insomnia is caused by other health or psychiatric issues.

What causes primary insomnia?

The exact cause of primary insomnia is unknown.

What causes secondary insomnia?

Conditions that may trigger or happen at the same time as secondary insomnia include:

The most common sleep disorders include:

  • Mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neurological (brain) disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
  • Conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis
  • Conditions that make it hard to breathe, such as asthma and sleep apnea
  • Trouble with hormones, including thyroid problems
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn
  • Stroke
  • Other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • Menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes
  • Cancer
  • Side effects of medicines, like those to treat cancer, asthma, heart disease, allergies, and colds

How is insomnia diagnosed?

To find out if you have insomnia, consult with a sleep specialist who might do the following:

  • Ask you about your sleep habits. 
  • Do tests to rule out other medical problems that might cause insomnia
  • Talk to you about the medicines you take. 
  • Ask you to do a sleep study, called a polysomnogram (PSG).

How is insomnia treated?

If your insomnia is caused by a short-term change in your sleep/wake schedule, such as with jet lag, your sleep schedule will probably return to normal on its own.

Chronic or long-term insomnia can be treated with prescription sleeping medications or Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI)

More frequently asked question on insomnia we can help answer

If you need to consult with a sleep specialist for insomnia or other sleep problems in or around New York City, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, contact W8MD at 718 946 5500.

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