Insomnia: Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Sleep is an essential part of life because as organisms, we have certain limitations. We need to give our organ systems time to rest, recover, process nutrients, build up energy, heal, and generally power down. The complex activities of being alive can be very exhausting, and sleep is the body’s natural way of recovering from the stress and demands of life. That being said, regardless of what our bodies need, sometimes we are unable to fall asleep resulting in insomnia.

What is Insomnia?

The condition called insomnia or sleeplessness occurs when someone is unable to fall asleep and stay asleep long enough to get undisturbed, restful, and restorative sleep more than twice per week for a period of at least three weeks.

Beyond that definition, the condition can be broken down into the following types, which have different characteristics:

  • Primary
  • Psychological
  • Idiopathic
  • Paradoxical insomnia

insomnia

Causes

The different types of insomnia are caused due to various reasons including;

  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Bedroom behavior (like watching television, reading on a tablet, etc.)
  • Chronic conditions
  • Depression
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Irregular activity
  • Excess stimulation
  • Food
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Other outside factors (like parasites, genetic conditions, etc.)

Symptoms

Insomnia could be a symptom of another underlying medical condition. However, there are many signs and symptoms that are associated with insomnia:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking earlier than desired
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Still feeling tired after sleep
  • Daytime lethargy
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Being uncoordinated, more errors or accidents
  • Tension headaches
  • Difficulty socializing
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Worrying about sleeping

Sleeplessness can have a wide range of negative effects on the body, and if unchecked, can become dangerous and even fatal, particularly through indirect causation. For example, people who do not get sufficient amounts of sleep are far more likely to become depressed, chronically anxious, or develop certain mental deficiencies. Also, they are at higher risk for heart disease, as well as natural accidents at home, at work, or while driving/traveling due to exhaustion.

In terms of general happiness, they are more likely to be unproductive, despondent, and enjoy life considerably less, as though they are always halfway between sleep and waking. If you are experiencing intense signs of insomnia or sleeplessness, speak to a doctor for further information about the specifics of insomnia variations.

About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve is a health and wellness enthusiast and started working on Organic Facts since 2012 and is currently responsible for managing it. She follows naturopathy and believes in healing with foods. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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