Insomnia - Lifestyle disorder

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences poor sleep or has trouble sleeping.


Insomnia can involve

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Not feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep


In any of these cases, the person feels tired the next day, or feels as if he has not had enough sleep. Poor sleep can leads to mood disturbances, lack of motivation, trouble with concentration, how levels of energy and increased fatigue.


About one-third of the average person’s life is spent sleeping. Healthy sleep is vital to the human body and important for the optimal functioning of the brain and other organs.


Lifestyle factors that could affect our sleep

  • Substance abuse – especially alcohol, cocaine and sedatives – play a role in an estimated 10-15 per cent of case of chronic insomnia.
  • Adjustment sleep disorder: This form of sleeplessness is a reaction to change or stress.
  • Jet lag: Air travel across time zones often causes brief bouts of insomnia.
  • Working the night shift or long shifts: Individuals who work at night and those who work long shifts may have trouble adjusting their sleep habits.
  • Medications: Insomnia can be a side-effect of various medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Overuse of caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine most commonly disrupts sleep. While a drink or two before bed may help a person relax, more than that can lead to fragmented sleep and wakefulness a few hours later.


Is insomnia serious?

  • Impaired mental functioning: Insomnia can affect concentration and memory, and one’s ability to perform routine tasks.
  • Accidents: Studies have shown that fatigue related to insomnia plays a major role in automobile and industrial accidents. As many as 100,000 automobile accidents, accounting for 1,500 deaths, are caused in instances where people doze off.
  • Stress and depression: Insomnia increases the activity of the hormones and pathways in the brain that cause stress. Changes in sleeping patterns have been shown to affect one’s mood. Persistent insomnia may be a sign of anxiety and depression.
  • Headaches: Headaches that occur during the night or early in the morning may be related to a sleep disorder.
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