Sleepless nights? Insomnia #1

Let’s start with a small survey on sleep-related questions…


Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise- a wise saying that is the key to a successful and healthy life.

However, there are increasing reports regarding difficulties in sleep. Not only reduced sleep, cases have been reported on excessive sleeping too. Psychology has dedicated a whole section to sleep disorders which include disorders like

  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Sleep talking
  • Insomnia

 Our concern area for this article is INSOMNIA. To be explained in the simplest of terms, insomnia refers to “lack of sleep”. However, it actually refers to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia can manifest itself in many ways during the sleep period. The variants are

  • Sleep onset insomnia (or initial insomnia) involving difficulty initiating sleep at bedtime
  • Sleep maintenance insomnia (or middle insomnia) involving frequent or prolonged awakenings throughout the night.
  • Late insomnia involving early morning awakening with an inability to return to sleep.

To be more specific about how to diagnose whether a person is suffering from insomnia there are some criteria that are as follows. (Checkboxes are provided for you. If most of your answers are YES, consult a clinician as soon as possible.)

  YES    NO
A. A predominant complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality.    
B. Difficulty initiating sleep.    
C. Difficulty maintaining sleep, characterized by frequent awakenings or problems returning to sleep after awakenings.    
D. Early-morning awakening with inability to return to sleep.    
E. The sleep disturbance causes impairment in social, occupational, educational, academic, behavioral, or other important areas of functioning.    
F. The sleep difficulty occurs at least 3 nights per week.    
G. The sleep difficulty is present for at least 3 months.    
H. The sleep difficulty occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep.    
I. The insomnia is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication).

The most common of all sleep disorders is insomnia. Population-based estimates indicate that about one-third of adults report insomnia symptoms. Insomnia is a more prevalent complaint among females than among males, with a gender ratio of about 1.44:1.

The most common factors contributing to the development of insomnia are:

  • Poor sleep habits
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Temperament: Anxiety or worry-prone personality or cognitive styles, increased arousal predisposition, and tendency to repress emotions can increase vulnerability to insomnia.
  • Noise, light, uncomfortably high or low temperature, and high altitude may also increase vulnerability to insomnia.
  • Genetic and physiology: Female gender and advancing age are associated with increased vulnerability to insomnia. The prevalence of insomnia is higher among monozygotic twins relative to dizygotic twins; it is also higher in first-degree family members compared with the general population.

Stay updated with our next post: how to get over insomnia.




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