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Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in adults, causing trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even when your sleeping conditions are ideal. Insomnia is not a form of sleep apnea, and requires a different treatment approach.
In addition to feeling like they haven’t slept well, people with insomnia usually experience other effects of insomnia, such as waking up too early, tiredness during the day, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances and problems at work or school.
If your insomnia is interfering with your sleep patterns and daily life, your primary care provider can develop the best treatment plan for you with proven treatment options for your sleep problems.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, people suffer from three main types of insomnia:
A brief episode of difficulty sleeping, usually caused by a life event such as a stressful change in a person’s job, receiving bad news or travel.
Often acute insomnia resolves without any treatment.
A long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. Insomnia is usually considered chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer.
Some people with chronic insomnia have a long-standing history of difficulty sleeping. Chronic insomnia has many causes.
Insomnia that occurs with another condition. Psychiatric symptoms—such as anxiety and depression—are known to be associated with changes in sleep. Certain medical conditions can either cause insomnia or make a person uncomfortable at night, as in the case of arthritis or back pain, which may make it hard to sleep.
Depending on the type of insomnia, there are several causes that your primary care provider can help you with. In general, acute insomnia is usually caused by a temporary event, while chronic insomnia is usually caused by ongoing stress, life events or habits that disrupt sleep.
Common causes of insomnia include:
Your primary care provide will work with you on the best treatment plan for your type of insomnia and other factors. Your plan may include:
Untreated insomnia can lead to anxiety, depression and irritability, plus trouble with focusing, learning and remembering.
Insomnia also can cause serious problems such as a slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents, risk of substance abuse, and an increased risk of long-term medical conditions, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
If you are having sleep problems, your primary care provider can give you a proper diagnosis to help you treat it and avoid any potential future complications.