What Is Insomnia?

Photo of a sleep medicine room.As many as 35 percent of adults complain of insomnia, which is defined as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking earlier than intended. To be diagnosed with insomnia, your sleep problems must cause a negative effect on your quality of life, such as daytime sleepiness, irritability or difficulty at work or home. The causes, symptoms and effects of insomnia vary for each individual.

Sleep specialists identify two types of insomnia:

  • Short-term insomnia lasts for a brief period, up to three months at most.
  • Chronic insomnia continues for three months or more and occurs at least three times per week.

How insomnia affects you

Studies prove that insomnia can have a negative impact on your health and your life. Consequences of insomnia are broad, and may include:

  • Emotional problems
  • Problems with attention and concentration
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Lower work productivity and more absences
  • Relationship troubles
  • Physical problems, such as high blood sugar and high blood pressure
  • Lower quality of life

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