What is Insomnia?
Everyone experiences occasional nights of poor sleep. But when those nights turn into weeks or months of difficulty falling and staying asleep, you could have an issue with insomnia.
Insomnia is a chronic (lasting more than several weeks) condition that impairs daily activities and makes it difficult to focus on tasks or learn new information. It may also cause other issues like irritability and mood swings, as well as an increased risk of car accidents.
Sleep problems can be caused or contributed to by a variety of factors, such as stressors, lifestyle habits and medications.
Some people experience insomnia due to stressful circumstances, like job loss or the death of a loved one. Other times it could be an effect of health conditions like allergies, asthma, Parkinson’s disease or hyperthyroidism.
Studies have suggested that insomnia tends to run in families. Furthermore, differences in brain activity may contribute to this condition.
Conditions such as depression and anxiety may make it harder to get enough rest at night. On occasion, insomnia may be a symptom of other disorders like narcolepsy or sleep apnea.
Many drugs can interfere with sleep, such as antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD and corticosteroids. Over-the-counter medicines like cold and flu medications containing alcohol or pain relievers containing caffeine may also contribute to insomnia.