Insomnia – Overview & Causes

insomniaInsomnia is a sleep disorder. People with this disorder find it hard to fall asleep and as a result the effects can be devastating. This disorder affects regularly millions of people worldwide. Lethargy, daytime sleepiness and a constant feeling of being unwell are the common symptoms of Insomnia. Other symptoms may include anxiety, irritability and mood swings. Insomnia constitutes a wide range of sleep disorders from lack of quantitative sleep to lack of qualitative sleep. It is commonly of three types which are below:

  • Transient type – Symptoms appear for three nights
  • Acute Insomnia – Here the symptoms last for several weeks.
  • Chronic type – Symptoms persists for months or in some cases years. Majorly chronic insomnia is a side effect due to another primary problem.

This disorder can affect people of any age. But it affects adult females more commonly than adult males. This sleeping disorder affects your school and work performance thereby leading to anxiety, obesity, irritability, problem concentrating, depression, reduction in reaction time, memory problems and poor function of immune system. It also puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.

Causes of Insomnia

Both psychological and physical factors may cause this sleeping disorder. The transient type can be due to any recent occurrence or event whereas chronic insomnia can be sometimes be due to an underlying medical condition. The following factors commonly cause insomnia:

  1. Psychological issues – like depression, psychotic disorders, anxiety or bipolar disorder can also cause this sleep disorder.
  2. Hormones – especially estrogen and also hormone shifts that occur during menstruation
  3. Disturbances in circadian rhythm – such as job shifts, jet lag, environmental noise, high altitudes and extreme cold or heat.
  4. Medical conditions –  like Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, GERD, Congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, angina, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, brain lesions, sleep apnea, stroke, hyperthyroidism and tumors.
  5. Others – such as pregnancy, genetic conditions, sleeping next to a snoring partner, overactive mind, parasites.

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