Can't sleep? Learn more about the disorder that's keeping you up at night.

woman kept awake by insomnia

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 60 million Americans suffer from ongoing insomnia each year. And an estimated 40 percent of all women and 30 percent of men will experience some form of the sleeping disorder during the course of any given year.

With so many individuals experiencing insomnia and suffering the consequences, it's important to have a better understanding of what the sleeping disorder is and where it's coming from.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by one's inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or both. Those suffering from insomnia will generally have trouble falling asleep, will wake up frequently throughout the night and have difficulty returning to sleep or will wake up too early in the morning.

A large number of people suffering from insomnia are suffering from what is known as acute (short-term) insomnia. This is generally brought about by stress or anxiety over what is going on in their day-to-day life. Just as it's time to fall asleep, the brain starts to think about the mountain of work waiting for them the next day or that upsetting event from earlier that week, making it seemingly impossible to fall asleep.

Insomnia that lasts for longer than a few days or weeks is considered to be chronic insomnia. Most frequently chronic insomnia is actually secondary to another ongoing problem such as depression or anxiety, or other physical conditions such as arthritis, allergies or high blood pressure. Traumatic events or life changes can be major triggers of chronic insomnia.

Without treatment, this lack of consistent, rejuvenating sleep can leave individuals feeling sluggish. Those suffering from insomnia will often experience daytime sleepiness and have trouble focusing on tasks or learning, and it can lead to more serious consequences such as falling asleep while driving. Other insomnia symptoms include increased anxiousness or irritability throughout the day.

Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to encourage insomnia relief. For more information on how to overcome insomnia and how SleepPhones may be able to help, visit the SleepPhone website section on insomnia. For severe cases of chronic insomnia please consult your doctor for advice.

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