Insomnia is often defined as the inability to fall asleep, or difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia can be a symptom of another disorder (secondary insomnia), a disorder of its own (primary insomnia), or be seen independent of another presented disorder (co-morbid). Of the more than 80 defined sleep disorders, insomnia is one of the most common. One in ten adults suffer from chronic insomnia, though children and adolescents can suffer from sleeping problems as well.
Insomnia in any of its forms can result in impairment during the day, chronic fatigue, and higher levels of stress and irritability. Lack of sleep can cause drowsiness, interfering with driving as well as difficulty in operating machinery.
Causes of Insomnia
Poor sleep quality can be attributed to several factors, depending on the type of insomnia. Commonly used substances, such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may be the cause. Out of the medical causes for insomnia, chronic pain and sleep apnea (difficulty breathing at night) are the most common.
Secondary insomnia can also be attributed to psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. Certain medicines taken for various disorders may cause insomnia as a side effect.
Primary insomnia, being independent of another disorder, can be caused by a number of issues, such as stress or lifestyle changes.