What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a condition when a person has difficulty sleeping or cannot sleep long enough according to the time that is needed by the body. Insomnia causes the physical condition of insomniacs being not fit enough to do the activity during the next day.

What is Insomnia - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a symptom of sleep disorders in the form of difficulty sleeping, often waking up in the middle of the night, and often waking up earlier. The symptoms are usually followed by functional impairment while awake.

As getting older, sleep quality tends to decrease. On the other hand, sleep is an unconscious state that occurs naturally to allow your body to rest. Difficulty sleeping for days or long-term will cause sleep deprivation that affects both body and mental health.

Insomnia Causes

After knowing insomnia definition, the following I will discuss the causes. The causes of someone suffering for this condition can vary including psychological problems, physical health problems, side effects of drugs, and lifestyle.

Psychological Problems

The psychological problems are often a major factor in the appearance of insomnia symptoms such as stress. The examples of stress triggers can vary ranging from work, financial problems, family, and social relationships. Besides stress, depression due to losing a person nearby, losing a job, or other valuable things can also cause insomnia.

In addition, the other factor is anxiety. Anxiety can also make you difficult to maintain sleep, so you often wake up in the middle of the night and difficult to sleep again. Other psychological problems that can cause this condition are mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Physical Health Problems

Many physical health problems can cause a person to feel uncomfortable. So, they have difficulty starting or maintaining sleep such as:

  • Suffering a disease that causes prolonged pain
  • Respiratory disorders (asthma and lung disease)
  • Heart disorders (heart failure and angina)
  • Muscle and joint problems (arthritis)
  • Hormonal disorders (hyperthyroidism)
  • Nerve disorders (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Urinary organ problems
  • Cancer
  • Indigestion
  • Stroke
  • Other sleep disorders (sleepwalking, snoring, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, or sleep apnea)

Bad Lifestyle

Insomnia can be triggered by certain habits or lifestyle like non-permanent sleep time. The changing sleep time can cause sleep and wake cycle becomes disturbed. Those who have a habit of napping to replace the lack of sleep during the night, and those who experience desynchronizes also can lead to this condition.

Eating large amounts of food can also make a person difficult to sleep. The stomach that is too full can make the body uncomfortable when lying down. Sleeping shortly after eating can also potentially cause heartburn. Moreover, excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages should be avoided before bedtime.


Some types of drugs have side effects that can cause insomnia for people who consume them continuously. The drugs are:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
  • Salmeterol, salbutamol, and theophylline (asthma medicines)
  • Some types of antidepressant drugs
  • Allergy medicines
  • Steroid medicines
  • Stimulant drugs that used to treat narcolepsy and hyperactive disorders
  • Epilepsy drugs

Insomnia Symptoms

The symptoms vary such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Wake up at night or wake up too early
  • Do not feel refreshed after sleeping
  • Tired and sleepy during the day
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Problems in paying attention, difficult to focus on tasks, and difficult to remember
  • Headaches
  • Feeling pressure in the stomach and intestines
  • Worry about sleeping
What is Insomnia - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


In treating insomnia, the first thing that the doctor does is to find out the cause. If the cause is based on certain habits, then the doctor will advise the patient to change the habits such as not to consume caffeinated drinks, smoking, and liquor before bed.

The doctors will recommend setting sleep and wake up every day in a disciplined manner and do not take a nap. If the patient continues to experience insomnia despite having improved the lifestyle, then the doctor will usually advise patients to take cognitive behavioral therapy specifically for insomnia (CBT-I). Even if needed, the doctor can prescribe sleeping pills.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually recommended for those who have experienced sleep disorders that do not improve after changes in sleep routines. CBT-I is done with the aim of changing negative thoughts and behaviors that are the cause of insomnia into positive thoughts and behaviors.

In CBT-I therapy, patients will also be taught how to set their minds in order to associate the bedroom with mere sleep activities. In addition, patients will be guided to be able to determine sleep time and wake up consistently. To know a patient’s progress, usually, the doctor will ask the patient to keep filling sleep diary.

Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are usually only used by doctors as a last choice. It is advised when insomnia can no longer be overcome by changes in lifestyle and cognitive therapy or when the severity of insomnia is high. Sleeping pills are generally prescribed at the lowest possible dose and with the shortest possible period of time.

For insomnia that causes sufferers to experience fatigue, severe stress, or suddenly wake up at night, doctors can prescribe zopiclone or zolpidem with the bad side effect. The sufferer that has difficulty in starting to sleep, the doctor can prescribe zaleplon in the lowest doses.

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If the sufferer experiences severe anxiety or stress, the doctor can prescribe a class of sedatives such as benzodiazepines. So, the patient can relax and can sleep soundly. Due to consuming sleeping pills can dangerous, it is better to ask the doctor first, so that the sleeping pills given can be adjusted to your condition.


Insomnia is a condition when a person has difficulty sleeping that can affect both, body and mental health. If you are experiencing the symptoms, change your habit or going to the doctor soon for a consultation.