Insomnia: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Know about the causes, symptoms and types of insomnia in detail.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Insomnia is a sleep disorder which makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep for a longer time. You may end up feeling tired and may not be able to function through the day.

According to Healthline, 6-10 percent adults find themselves meeting the criteria for the condition and about one-third of the adults experience the symptoms for insomnia. Sleep plays an important role in the wellbeing of a person and can affect the physical and mental health if a person is not satisfied from his sleep or does not feel refreshed after waking up.

Let's know more about insomnia including its symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis and ways for prevention.


Insomnia: Types

According to the doctors of Cleveland Clinic, there are various stages or types of insomnia: Acute, chronic, behavioural, maintenance, onset insomnia, etc, but let's have a look at the two main types:

Primary Insomnia: It is a sleep disorder which is not a side-effect or symptom of any other medical condition. The doctor diagnoses the condition after ruling out the other possible causes of sleeplessness.

Secondary Insomnia: It can be a side-effect of certain medicines or a symptom of a medical condition and can cause chronic or acute insomnia. Acute insomnia can last for a few weeks while chronic insomnia lasts for at least 3 days in a week and lasts for more than 3 months.

Insomnia: Symptoms

According to the doctors of Mayo Clinic, people suffering from insomnia will experience one or few of these symptoms:

  • Finding it difficult to fall back asleep after waking up early

  • Staying awake late at night worrying about not falling asleep

  • Interrupted or disturbed sleep pattern

  • Not feeling refreshed after waking up

  • Feeling tired throughout the day

  • Feeling anxious or depressed

  • Lack of concentration

Insomnia: Causes & Risk Factors

According to MedicalNewsToday, the causes of the condition differ from person to person depending on the type of insomnia.

Causes of acute insomnia are:

  • Changes in sleeping place or sleeping with someone new

  • Unhealthy lifestyle or sleeping pattern

  • Traumatic event

  • Illness or pain

  • Jet lag

  • Stress

  • Certain medicines

Causes of chronic insomnia include:

  • Chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, GERD or cardiovascular diseases

  • Chronic pain in arthritis or other conditions

  • Anxiety, depression, or substance abuse

  • Sleep apnea


Other factors affecting insomnia include:

  • Excess use of tobacco or alcohol

  • Excess consumption of caffeine

  • Taking naps in between the day

  • Traveling in different time zones

  • Perimenopause or menopause

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Severe PMS

  • Pregnancy

Insomnia: Diagnosis

  • According to the doctors of Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be diagnosed on the basis of a physical examination in which the doctors will rule out the medical conditions causing insomnia.

  • A blood test may also help to find the underlying cause like thyroid for the poor sleeping pattern.

  • The doctor may review your sleeping routine by making you fill out a questionnaire and asking you to maintain a sleep diary.

  • A doctor may also ask you to undergo a sleep study wherein you will be kept in a sleep centre and your brain waves, breathing, heartbeat, etc shall be recorded.

Insomnia: Treatment 

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, doctors can prescribe certain medicines and ask you to make changes in your lifestyle and stress management behaviour but if these things do not workout as planned, they may ask you to attend therapies like:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: It helps you manage your symptoms by encouraging you to eliminate the habits and thoughts that disrupt your sleep and keep you awake.

  • Stimulus Control Therapy: It may help you form habits in which you use your bed only for sleep or sex and you restricts you to enter your bedroom unless you are sleepy.

  • You might be asked to use relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, meditation to reduce bedtime anxiety and promote better sleep.

  • Sleep restriction and light therapy is another method. Light therapy can be used by people who find it difficult to sleep once they are awake and sleep restriction makes a person tired by restricting their naptime and activity in bed to make them tired enough to sleep the next night.

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Topics:  Insomnia 

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