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Conditions InDepth: Insomnia
Insomnia is defined as inadequate or poor-quality sleep despite having adequate time to sleep. Insomnia may take the form of difficulty falling asleep, or middle-of-the-night or early-morning awakening. It may be a short-term problem or occur more often over a long period of time.
Over the course of a year, about one third of adults experience some level of insomnia. About 10%-15% have more severe or chronic insomnia. It may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Insomnia is not a disease. Instead, it is a result of a behavior or a symptom of an underlying mental or physical problem. There are many causes of insomnia.
Short-term insomnia is often due to temporary situations. It generally occurs in people who are experiencing one or more of the following:
Chronic insomnia often results from a medical condition. They may include:
Chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioral factors. These include:
For some people, insomnia is aggravated by:
• What are the risk factors for insomnia? • What are the symptoms of insomnia? • How is insomnia diagnosed? • What are the treatments for insomnia? • Are there screening tests for insomnia? • How can I reduce my risk of insomnia? • What questions should I ask my doctor? • What is it like to live with insomnia? • Where can I get more information about insomnia?
Can't Sleep? What to know about insomnia. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfo... . Accessed May 15, 2013.
Insomnia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated April 11, 2013. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Insomnia. Quick Answers to Medical Diagnosis and Therapy. Access Medicine website. Available at: http://accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3267380 . Accessed May 15, 2013
Parmet S, Burke A, Glass RM. Insomnia. JAMA Patient Page . 2006 June 28.295(24).
What is insomnia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso/ . Updated December 13, 2011. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
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