Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, defined as the inability to get enough sleep, even though the opportunity is there. The symptoms vary between individuals and can include trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or a tendency to wake up too early in the morning.

The main symptoms include excess fatigue, lack of concentration, daytime sleepiness, irritability, lack of energy, memory problems, and frustration about not getting enough sleep.

Insomnia can affect nearly all aspects of your life, both during sleep and while you are awake. According to studies, insomnia impairs work performance and decision making, as well as putting a strain on relationships and social life. Over time, insomnia will leave you both mentally and physically exhausted.

A fairly large number of people claim to suffer from insomnia. The disorder can affect anyone, although it is most common among women and the elderly. Mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, also seem to contribute greatly to the development of this sleep disorder. Most people have trouble sleeping at some point in their life, but to be diagnosed with insomnia the symptoms must be consistent for some time.

There are two types of insomnia: short-time insomnia and chronic insomnia. Short-time insomnia lasts for up to three months and affects about 15-20% of people. Chronic insomnia occurs at least three times a week for a minimum of three months. It is thought to affect about 10% of people. Note that insomnia is not the same as simply getting insufficient sleep, which occurs when you voluntarily, but unintentionally, deprive yourself of the opportunity to sleep.

There are several ways to treat insomnia, including taking medications, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, and undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy.

If you think you suffer from insomnia, you should see a doctor.

References and further information can be found on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s website: