More Than Sleepless: How To Tell If You Have Insomnia

woman yawning bed

Sleep is still a major problem for Americans. According to a 2012 report by The Lancet, 10 percent of adults meet the criteria for insomnia. Going night after night with little or no sleep can have serious health consequences, such as higher risks for depression, hypertension and diabetes. So what exactly is the difference between feeling a little tired and utterly exhausted? Well, you’re about to find out – here’s what insomnia really feels like.

What is it?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder, in which the person has trouble falling and/or staying asleep. There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when the person’s sleep problems aren’t associated with any health conditions. Secondary insomnia – more common than primary insomnia – is when the person’s sleep problems are associated with a health condition, medication they’re taking, or substance abuse.

Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia is short term, lasting one night to only a few weeks. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, usually occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer.

Causes

A number of factors can trigger insomnia. Illness, the death of a loved one, losing a job or changing jobs, divorce, certain medications, and disturbance in your normal sleep schedule e.g., jet lag or switching shifts at work can contribute to acute insomnia, while chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and pain/discomfort at night can contribute to chronic insomnia.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling tired even after a good night’s sleep
  • Mood changes, such as irritability, depression, and anxiety