What It Is: According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is the difficulty or inability to get sufficient sleep.
Sleep Conditions: It can be divided initially into two conditions Acute and Chronic. Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
Types of Insomnia: There are also two types of insomnia: Primary and Secondary.
- Primary insomnia: This means your sleep problems aren’t linked to any other health condition or problem.
- Secondary insomnia: This means you have trouble sleeping because of a health condition (like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn); pain; medication; or substance use (like alcohol).
Primary Insomnia Causes:
- Stress related to big life events, like a job loss or change, the death of a loved one, divorce, or moving
- Things around you like noise, light, or temperature
- Changes to your sleep schedule like jet lag, a new shift at work, or bad habits you picked up when you had other sleep problems
Secondary insomnia Causes:
- Mental health issues like depression and anxiety
- Medications for colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma
- Pain or discomfort at night
- Caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol use
- Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine problems
- Other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome
Sleep is Essential: Our bodies and brains need sleep so they can repair themselves. It’s also crucial for learning and keeping memories. If insomnia is keeping you awake, you could have:
- A higher risk of health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, and depression
- A higher risk of falling, if you’re an older woman
- Trouble focusing
- Slow reaction time that can lead to a car crash
How We Sleep: Most people wake up once or twice during the night. When you can’t get back to sleep quickly, you won’t get enough quality sleep to keep you refreshed and healthy. Adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for best health and well-being. That’s divided into periods of light, deep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when you dream.
Sleep Positions are Important too: Your sleep position may also contribute to how well you sleep. People that sleep on their stomachs, for example, tend to be more restless. People who sleep on their backs may aggravate conditions such as snoring and sleep apnea. Those who sleep in the more “fetal” position tend to get the most relaxed sleep. For those who sleep with a partner “cuddling” during sleep may actually be good for you. It releases oxytocin that helps to lower stress.