Do I have insomnia? Insomnia is defined by the difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This occurs even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia are usually unhappy with the sleep they can get.
When people aren’t wondering what is insomnia, they often think about how long insomnia lasts. There are two types of insomnia: acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. The difference is in how long it lasts.
Acute insomnia appears to “come out of the blue” but it’s actually related to life circumstances. For example, it may be difficulty falling asleep the night before a big presentation at work or it may be difficulty staying asleep the first night in a new house.
Chronic insomnia is insomnia that continues to persist for at least three nights a week over the course of at least three months.
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Poor concentration
- Poor work performance
- Changes in mood
People with insomnia can either have difficulty sleeping asleep (known as sleep onset) or troubling staying asleep (referred to as sleep maintenance). People may also complain about feeling tired upon waking up (not feeling refreshed) or waking up early in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health approximately 30% of adults complain about poor sleep or sleep disruptions. Of that about 10% have daytime impairment consistent with insomnia.
A 2002 NSF Poll found that:
- 63 percent of women (versus 54 percent of men) experienced symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week.
- 68 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 report experiencing symptoms of insomnia
- 59 percent of adults ages 30 to 64 report symptoms of insomnia
- Only 44 percent of people over the age of 65 report symptoms of insomnia
- Parents report more insomnia symptoms than adults without children in the household (66 vs. 54 percent)
Still thinking “Do I Have Insomnia”, it’s important understand what causes insomnia. Chronic insomnia may be due to unhealthy sleep routines, changes in your shift at work (switching from day shift to night shift) or other changes in one’s environment. Certain medications could also lead to a pattern of insufficient sleep.
Additionally, chronic insomnia may also be linked to conditions such as depression or anxiety. Who wouldn’t experience mood changes if they are chronically struggling from fatigue? Studies show that when the insomnia is treated, symptoms of anxiety and depression disappear!
Wondering what can turn acute insomnia to chronic insomnia? Some cases of insomnia start out with an acute episode but turn into a longer-term problem.
Let’s say a person can’t sleep for a night or two after receiving bad news or after working late nights. This person can adopt unhealthy sleep habits such as getting up in the middle of the night to continue to work or drinking alcohol to help “relax”.
As a result, a few sleepless nights may lead to chronic insomnia. Once this happens, worry and anxiety kicks in “I’ll never sleep” and each time the person can’t sleep it reinforced this negative belief of “I’ll never sleep”.
This is why it’s important to address insomnia instead of letting it become the norm. If unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits are causing insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy can help.
If you have tried to change your sleep behaviors and it hasn’t worked, it’s important to take this seriously and talk to a sleep professional!