Insomnia: symptoms, causes, consequences, effective treatments

Since it is a very important part of our life, it has many vital functions and affects mental, physical and emotional health. It so happens that night falls, and it is impossible to fall asleep, and there are many reasons for this. In some cases, a sleepless night can develop into persistent insomnia.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that patients report to their doctor. It determines both the quality of the night spent and the quality of the next day. Insomnia is a disturbance in the normal sleep pattern that impairs the quality of life . With insomnia, the following are possible: 

difficulty falling asleep ( falling asleep disturbance ),

difficulty sleeping throughout the night without waking up ( sleep maintenance disorder ),

Waking up too early in the morning ( morning insomnia ).

Insomnia is characterized by disturbed sleep at night. But it affects not only the night: severe insomnia at night – sleepiness during the day. Lack or poor quality sleep can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, memory impairment or reduced work efficiency, and even traffic accidents. Long-term sleep problems can, among other things, contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes mellitus and impaired immune system. It is imperative to treat insomnia.


Even in sleep, our brain works and plays an important role in eliminating toxins, processing information, strengthening memory, learning, and other higher brain functions.

Primary vs Secondary Insomnia

If a person has trouble sleeping unrelated to any other health problem, this is called primary insomnia.

Secondary insomnia occurs when sleep problems initially appeared due to something else, for example : illness (depression, heartburn, asthma, arthritis, dementia), pain, medication or certain substances (alcohol, caffeine).    

Effective means and methods of treating insomnia can only be selected by a doctor, folk recipes for insomnia can only make it worse.

Acute vs Chronic insomnia

According to the duration of the process, insomnia is divided into acute or chronic. Sometimes acute insomnia is due to a specific problem (such as a stressful life event or illness). When a person has trouble sleeping at least three times a week for at least three months, we are talking about chronic insomnia. In this case, people tend to be very worried about their sleep and try to get rid of insomnia at least at home.

What causes insomnia?

It is usually difficult to determine the cause of insomnia, because in many cases it is the result of various factors. One of these, very common, is stress (or anxiety) , which is associated with work, financial difficulties, family or personal relationships, society, or stress in general. As a result, it is difficult for us to sleep. Try to remember a situation that worried you very much – you probably thought about it over and over again – during the day and night, and this led to insomnia. 

The most common causes of recurrent insomnia are:

So, the causes of insomnia can be:

stress, anxiety ( insomnia with neurosis is common; insomnia with depression is also common)

noise, incl . child-related


shift work

jetlag – change time zones




side effects of certain medications

lack of regime


Lack of sleep dramatically impairs the ability to drive:

– after 18 hours without sleep, the ability to drive a car is similar to the consumption of 0.05% alcohol (0.5 g alcohol / kg body weight in blood),  

– after 24 hours of wakefulness (one night), the ability to drive is similar to consumption of 0.1% alcohol (1 g of alcohol / kg of body weight in blood).  

Insomnia symptoms

If we take the entire population, then a third of them will find at least one symptom of insomnia. Women suffer from insomnia twice as often as men. The causes of insomnia in men and women can differ. Insomnia is also associated with age: it is very rare in childhood, sometimes in adolescents, but is becoming more common among adults and the elderly.

The symptoms of insomnia occur at night, but the consequences can be the next day. People who complain of insomnia report finding it difficult to fall asleep in the evening, often waking up at night, or waking up too early in the morning. Such sleep does not help to restore strength or the quality of sleep is very poor. Of course, in this case, the main desire of a person is to wake up refreshed, but in the case of a sleepless night, people get tired and tormented.

Symptoms that may appear the next day:

lack of energy and motivation, which lead to difficulty in making decisions

problems with memory and concentration


irritability or mood swings that lead to problems in family and social life

daytime sleepiness

behavioral problems (eg, impulsivity, aggression)

apathy or tiredness

constant thoughts about sleep and a feeling of dissatisfaction from this

in addition, muscle tension, headaches, digestive problems are possible

How to get rid of insomnia with folk remedies? You must first understand what it came from, and this can only be said for sure by a doctor. Fighting insomnia at home is often simply unrealistic, do not delay the visit to the doctor.


Epidemiological studies found that a third of the adult population in Europe experienced one or more symptoms of insomnia, and 10-15% of those surveyed noted that severe insomnia interferes with the normal course of the next day.

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