Living well Sleep

Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

insomnia explained

Insomnia is a kind of sleep disorder. People suffering from insomnia find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or in some conditions both. People with insomnia often do not feel refreshed when they wake up after sleep. This can ultimately lead to fatigue and many other symptoms. serious enough for them to be treated with insomnia disorder. Here, we have discussed everything you must know about Insomnia including its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Everything About Insomnia You Must Know

As per the American Psychiatric Association, Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. In fact the American Psychiatric Association states that nearly one-third of all the adults report Insomnia symptoms. However, between 6 to 10 percent of people have symptoms serious enough for them to be treated with insomnia disorder.

What is Insomnia?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines Insomnia as a health disorder in which people face problems in falling asleep or staying asleep. Doctors make clinical diagnosis of Insomnia if both these criteria mentioned below is applicable:

  • Sleep difficulties happening around three nights weekly for a minimum of 3 months
  • Sleep difficulties creating distress and functional difficulties in an individual’s life

Keep reading to learn everything about Insomnia you must know

What causes Insomnia?

The causes of insomnia depend on the kind of sleeplessness that one experiences. Short-term insomnia may be caused because of stress, a traumatic event, or changes in sleeping habits. On the other hand, a chronic insomnia lasts for about three months and is generally secondary to another issue or a combination of issues, including:

  • Medical conditions which make it difficult to fall asleep, like back pain or arthritis
  • Psychological problems like depression and anxiety
  • Substance use

Risk factors for Insomnia

Insomnia can occur at any age and generally affects women than men.

stress causes insomnia

As per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Trusted Source, people with some risk factors are more prone to have insomnia. These risk factors are:

  • Stress
  • Emotional disorders, like depression or distress associated with a life event
  • Low income
  • Traveling to various time zones
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Working in night shifts or change in working hours
  • Some medical conditions, like cardiovascular disease or obesity, can also cause Insomnia. Menopause can cause Insomnia too. Find out more about everything about Insomnia you must know.

Insomnia symptoms

People who experience insomnia generally report any of these symptoms:

  • Feeling weak after waking up in the morning
  • Unrefreshing sleep

These Insomnia symptoms can lead to other symptoms too like:

  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

You might find it difficult to concentrate on tasks during the daytime. Let us learn how to treat Insomnia.

Insomnia Treatment

There are both insomnia treatment with medicines and insomnia treatment without drugs. Your doctor will be able to tell you which treatment will be appropriate for you. You may need to try various treatments before finding a treatment that is most beneficial for you. The American College of Physicians (ACP) suggests cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as the first mode of treatment for chronic insomnia among adults.

Some doctors even suggest sleep hygiene treatment as Insomnia cure. There are times, behaviors that interfere with sleep results in insomnia. Sleep hygiene training can help you to change some of these disturbing behaviors.

Suggested changes include:

  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages before going to bed
  • Avoiding exercise near bed
  • Lessening time spent on your bed when you are not planning to sleep, like watching TV or surfing the web on your smartphone.

If there is an underlying medical or psychological disorder contributing to insomnia, getting perfect treatment for it can alleviate sleep problems. Discover more treatments for insomnia.

Home remedies for insomnia

There are many cases of insomnia that can be effectively handled by making some lifestyle changes or by trying out some home remedies.

Some of the natural remedies that you can try at your home for treating Insomnia include herbal tea, warm tea, or valerian.


Meditation is an easy, natural, and drug-free insomnia treatment. As per the National Sleep Foundation, meditation can help to improve your sleep quality and make it simpler to fall asleep and stay asleep for a longer time. Several studies have proved that meditation can help with symptoms and signs of insomnia. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Digestive issues
  • Pain
  • Depression

There are many videos and apps available online that can teach you how to meditate.

meditation best for insomnia


A hormone, melatonin is produced naturally by the body during the sleep cycle. People generally take melatonin supplements to improve their sleep. Several studies have been conducted on whether melatonin can help treat insomnia in adults or not. There are some proofs that medicines may decrease the time it takes one to fall asleep, but more research is required.

Generally, Melatonin is safe for a short span of time, but its long-term safety is yet to be confirmed. It is always best to consult with your doctor while deciding to have melatonin supplements.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are strong aromatic liquids made from different kinds of plants, trees, and flowers. People treat different health problems by inhaling these oils and messaging them on the skin. This practice is known as aromatherapy.

Some essential oils that can improve your sleep pattern include:

  • Lavender
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Cedarwood
  • Bitter orange or neroli
  • Sandalwood

Studies have shown that aromatherapy is great for promoting sleep. Another study found that lavender is useful in helping and sustaining sleep. A combination of essential oils reduces sleep disturbance and increases well-being in old people.

Essential oils do not usually cause any type of side effects when used as per the guidelines. Most of the essential oils have been classified as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. However, aromatherapy is not regulated by the United States law, and no license is needed for practice. Thus, it is significant to choose practitioners and products cautiously.

What causes insomnia in children

Children can suffer from Insomnia too, most of the time for the same reasons as elders. Some of the common insomnia causes in children are:

  • Medicines
  • Stress
  • Excess intake of caffeine
  • Psychiatric disorders

If your child is not able to sleep or face difficulty in falling asleep, or if they wake up after a short period of time, then insomnia may be the reason. Some of the common symptoms of insomnia in kids include:

  • Restlessness or daytime sleepiness
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Continuous disciplinary issues
  • Attention deficits or memory issues

Treatment for children is generally the same as treatment for elders.

Kids must follow a regular sleep schedule and maintain good sleep hygiene. Lessening stress and avoiding the screen time before going to bed will also help. Discover more ways to help your kids sleep better online.

Anxiety and Insomnia

Anxiety can result in Insomnia, and insomnia can cause anxiety. This can cause a self-perpetuating cycle that may cause chronic insomnia. Some studies prove that worrying more and anxiety are the leading causes of insomnia. Short-term anxiety is caused when you worry about the same issue frequently. It can be anything like work or personal relationships. Generally, short-term anxiety goes away once this problem is solved. Your sleep must return to normal too.

Insomnia isn’t just a nuisance or a small inconvenience. It’s a real sleep disorder, and it can be treated.

This was everything you must know about insomnia. If you think you have insomnia, talk to your doctor. By exploring possible causes, you can get the appropriate and safe treatment you need.

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