What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep, or both. Up to 50% of the population is affected by insomnia at some time in their life. Women are affected more frequently than men, and people with psychological problems suffer from higher rates of insomnia. Insomnia or sleep disorders are not defined by a set number of hours of sleep. Each individual has different sleep requirements. Instead, sleep disorders are recognized by symptoms resulting from an inadequate quality or quantity of sleep.
What causes Insomnia?
Insomnia or sleep disturbance can be caused by many factors. Transient or short-term insomnia can be related to time changes (jet-lag, travel), altitude, change in medications, life-stress (loss of a loved one, job loss, divorce or separation), and poor sleep conditions (noise, light, disruptive bed partner). Substance abuse issues can also cause sleep problems, such as withdrawal from alcohol, drugs, or medications. Medical problems such as obesity (obstructive sleep apnea, snoring), chronic pain, chronic fatigue, acid reflux disease, asthma, coronary artery disease with chest pain, arthritis, smoking, and neurological problems can cause sleep disorders. Specific medical conditions which disrupt sleep include sleep apnea (obstructive or central), restless leg syndrome, period limb movement disorder, and disorders of circadian rhythms. Psychological issues such as depression, mania, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also go hand in hand with disordered sleep. Insomnia can be a prime indicator of underlying psychological difficulties.