Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for as long as desired. As a result of the condition, one fails to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Because the amount of needed sleep varies from person to person, insomnia is defined by the quality of sleep and how one feels after sleeping—not the particular number of sleep hours achieved. In fact, even if someone spends 8-9 hours a night in bed, if they feel fatigued or drowsy during the day, they may be experiencing the symptoms of insomnia.
Insomnia is a very common disorder. In fact, The National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health estimates 30%-40% of adults report some insomnia symptoms each year, and about 10%-15% report symptoms of chronic insomnia.
There are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is associated with individuals who have sleep problems that are not directly related to any other health condition or issue. Secondary insomnia means that an individual is experiencing sleep problems as the result of another health condition, including but not limited to asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, heartburn, pain, or substance use (typically alcohol or caffeine).
Insomnia can be short-term (acute insomnia) or long-term (chronic insomnia). It can also appear and disappear, with short and long periods of time when no sleep issues occur. Insomnia is identified as acute if it lasts from one night to a few weeks. If insomnia is experienced for at least three nights a week for a month or longer, it’s identified as chronic.
Some common symptoms of insomnia include:
- difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
- frequently awaking during sleeping hours
- trouble getting back to sleep after being awakened
- exhausting sleep
- relying on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep
- waking up too early
- drowsiness, fatigue or irritability during waking hours
- difficulty concentrating during waking hours
The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes one can make on their own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. However, if you or a loved one are unable to overcome insomnia, consider seeking treatment at The Judy & Richard Voltmer Sleep Center at Hoag.
For over 20 years, The Judy & Richard Voltmer Sleep Center at Hoag has studied and treated thousands of patients with sleep disorders. The center was custom built to feel like a high-quality hotel, with eight private bedrooms, each with a private bathroom.