What is Insomnia?

Updated at: Feb 04, 2013
What is Insomnia?

Insomnia or sleeplessness is the inability to fall asleep. It is a symptom and not a disease or diagnosis.


Dr Poonam Sachdev
InsomniaWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Mar 27, 2012

What is Insomnia

Do have trouble falling asleep? Do you wake-up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to fall backto sleep? If yes then you probably are suffering from a condition called insomnia.

Experts say that most adults experience insomnia or sleeplessness at some point in their lives. About 20 to 40% of all adults experience insomnia in an year  and about 10% suffer from chronic insomnia.


[Read: Risk Factors for Insomnia]

Insomnia is a symptom, and not a disease or diagnosis. It can be defined as "difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, or both" or the perception of poor quality sleep—that is a person with insomnia may have poor sleep. Number of hours of sleep is not considered while defining insomnia as individuals vary significantly in their sleep needs and schedules. Most people know about insomnia and its side effects, but few consult a specialist for treatment.

Based on the duration insomnia is usually classified as:

  • Transient insomnia: Symptoms present for less than one week .
  • Short-term insomnia: Symptoms persist for one to three weeks.
  • Chronic insomnia: Symptoms persist for more than three weeks.

Some facts on Insomnia

  • Insomnia can affect any age groups (children, adults, senior citizens).

[Read: Who is affected by Insomnia?]

  • Among adults, insomnia is more common in women as compared to men.

[Read: What Causes Insomnia in Women?]

  • Insomnia becomes more common with age.
  • It is more common in people from lower socioeconomic (income) groups, people who are substance dependent such as alcohol or drugs, people with mental health disorders.
  • Stress can cause short-term or acute insomnia.
  • If acute insomnia is not treated properly it can develop into chronic insomnia.

Read more articles on Insomnia.





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