Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Insomnia - Overview and Facts

Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. It occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even though you had the opportunity to get a full night of sleep. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning

Insomnia involves both a sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms. The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life.

As many as 30 to 35 percent of adults complain of insomnia.Everyone has the occasional night of poor sleep. In many cases this is due to staying up too late or waking up too early. This does not mean you have insomnia, it means you didn’t get enough sleep.

As many as 30 to 35 percent of adults complain of insomnia. It is more common in groups such as older adults, women, people under stress and people with certain medical and mental health problems such as depression.

There are two types of insomnia based on the regularity and duration of the sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms:

  • Short-term insomnia: This type of brief insomnia lasts for up to three months. It occurs in 15 to 20 percent of people. 

  • Chronic insomnia: This type of insomnia occurs at least three times per week and lasts for at least three months. About 10 percent of people have chronic insomnia.

A board certified sleep medicine physician diagnoses chronic insomnia. The sleep team at an accredited sleep center can provide ongoing care.

Updated March 4, 2015

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