You’ve likely had nights when you couldn’t fall asleep, no matter how desperately
you can't sleep, the ticking of the clock only reminds you of your exhaustion and
endless hours until morning. And perhaps you finally drop off around dawn, only to
jarred awake by the alarm an hour later.
Insomnia means having trouble sleeping at night, staying asleep, or both. It's one
the most common sleep disorders. Episodes of insomnia that last a few days at a time
called short-term (acute) insomnia. Ongoing (chronic) insomnia is often diagnosed
you have ongoing problems with sleep. There are many different definitions for chronic
insomnia. A commonly accepted one is insomnia that occurs more than 3 nights a week
at least 3 months or that lasts for a month or longer.
Insomnia affects people in different ways. If you suffer from it, you may not be able
to go to sleep or you may not be able to stay asleep. You might constantly wake up
earlier than you would like, perhaps in the wee hours of the morning, and find yourself
unable to go back to sleep.
Women are more likely to have insomnia than men. It's also more common among:
- Shift workers, who don't have consistent sleep schedules
- People with low incomes
- People who have a history of depression
- People who don't get much physical activity