More than 35 million Americans suffer from insomnia, a condition that makes falling and staying asleep extremely difficult. Brief episodes of insomnia, resulting from things such as death of a loved one or a new school year starting are considered normal. However, if insomnia lasts more than a month, it may require treatment.
Some people have a genetic vulnerability to insomnia. These people usually have short sleep requirements and are very sensitive to noise or light when trying to fall asleep. Psychological factors are also prominent in insomnia causes. People experiencing stress, anxiety, psychiatric disorders or depression are more likely to develop insomnia. By the development of tolerance over time, sometimes sleeping pills contribute to insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia become prominent when it interferes with daytime functioning. Daytime effects include difficulty waking up in the morning, sleepiness during the day, trouble concentrating, irritability, depression and anxiety. It is treated with stress reduction techniques and therapy. Most patients see improvement within a few weeks of learning techniques and starting therapy. Sometimes short-term medication is also prescribed.
For more information on insomnia and other neurological disorders, visit NorthShore University HealthSystem.