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Insomnia is a sleep disorder that regularly affects millions of people worldwide. In short, individuals with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. The effects can be devastating.

Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically. Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are common associated symptoms.

Insomnia has also been associated with a of developing chronic diseases. According to the National Sleep Foundation, of American adults report that they have had symptoms of insomnia within the last 12 months, and 10-15 percent of adults claim to have chronic insomnia.

Here, we will discuss what insomnia is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and possible treatments.

Fast facts on insomnia:

  • There are many possible causes of insomnia.
  • An estimated 30-40 percent of Americans report experiencing insomnia each year.
  • Often, insomnia is due to a secondary cause, such as illness or lifestyle.
  • Causes of insomnia include psychological factors, medications, and hormone levels.
  • Treatments for insomnia can be medical or behavioral.

Insomnia can be caused by physical and psychological factors. There is sometimes an underlying medical condition that causes chronic insomnia, while transient insomnia may be due to a recent event or occurrence. Insomnia is :

Media technology in the bedroom

Several small studies in adults and children have suggested that an exposure to light from televisions and smartphones prior to going to sleep can affect natural melatonin levels and lead to increased time to sleep.

In addition, a study conducted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that backlit tablet computers can . These studies suggest that technology in the bedroom can worsen insomnia, leading to more complications.

Medications

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the following medications can in some patients:

  • corticosteroids
  • statins
  • alpha blockers
  • beta blockers
  • SSRI antidepressants
  • ACE inhibitors
  • ARBs (angiotensin II-receptor blockers)
  • cholinesterase inhibitors
  • second generation (non-sedating) H1 agonists
  • glucosamine/chondroitin

Insomnia itself may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. However, there are many signs and symptoms that are associated with insomnia:

Sleep deprivation can cause other symptoms. The afflicted person may wake up not feeling fully awake and refreshed, and may have a sensation of tiredness and sleepiness throughout the day.

Having problems concentrating and focusing on tasks is common for people with insomnia. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, of non-alcohol related car crash injuries are caused by driver sleepiness.

Insomnia can affect people of any age; it is than adult males. It can undermine school and work performance, as well as contributing to obesity, anxiety, depression, irritability, concentration problems, memory problems, poor immune system function, and reduced reaction time.

Some people are more likely to experience insomnia. These include:

  • travelers, particularly through multiple time zones
  • shift workers with frequent changes in shifts (day vs. night)
  • the elderly
  • users of illegal drugs
  • adolescent or young adult students
  • pregnant women
  • menopausal women
  • those with mental health disorders