Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by persistent problems falling asleep or staying asleep. People with insomnia typically complain that their sleep is unrefreshing and that they often suffer from drowsiness, lack of focus and energy, fatigue, impaired mental function, and moodiness during waking hours.
An estimated 30% to 50% of the general population is affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia. Insomnia can occur at any age, but it is particularly common in the elderly. Insomnia, which can last for less than a week or become a chronic problem, may lead to memory problems, depression, irritability and an increased risk of heart disease and motor vehicle accidents.
Common causes of insomnia are stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and age-related changes such as menopause. Other contributing factors include excess alcohol or caffeine consumption, excessive napping in the day, noise, jet lag, and certain medications.
The diagnosis and treatment of insomnia are complex because of its potential association with other health issues such as obesity, diabetes, trauma, emotional disorders, heart and lung problems and hormonal imbalances. Treatment of insomnia includes alleviating any physical and emotional problems that may be contributing to the condition as well as lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy and drug therapy.