Insomnia is a persistent sleep disorder making it hard to fall asleep as well as hard to stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep. With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed. It takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, job performance and quality of life.
Sufficient sleeping hour varies amongst people. Most adults need seven to eight hours per night. Many adults suffer insomnia at some point but some of them have long-term insomnia, the chronic insomnia. Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it may be secondary due to other causes, such as a disease or medication.
People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Feeling tired upon waking
- Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
Primary insomnia: having sleep problems, not directly associated with any other health condition or problem.
Secondary insomnia: having sleep problems because of something else, such as a health condition (like arthritis 關節炎, asthma 哮喘, cancer, depression or heartburn 心痛), pain, medication they are taking or alcohol.
Insomnia also varies in time it lasts and how frequently it occurs. It can be a short-term (acute insomnia) or can last a long time (chronic insomnia). It can also come and go, with periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is termed chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.
1. Causes of acute insomnia can include:
- Emotional or physical discomfort
- Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
- Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, moving)
- Some medications (e.g. those used to treat colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma) may interfere with sleep
- Interferences in normal sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to night shift etc.)
2. Causes of chronic insomnia include:
- Chronic stress
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Pain or discomfort at night
- General tiredness
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Sleepiness during the day