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You may be surprised at how broad the definition can be. Insomnia can include several difficulties related to sleep. For some people, it may involve an inability to fall asleep. For others, insomnia may be more about struggling to stay asleep throughout the night. People coping with insomnia may also wake in the morning already feeling tired -- missing the feeling of being refreshed and restored from a night of sound sleep. Any of these problems -- or a combination of them -- can be considered insomnia. Its effects can linger throughout the day, in fatigue, concentration problems, difficulty with memory and irritability.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that includes one or more of the following symptoms:
- Having difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed
Insomnia often leads to sleep deprivation, which causes you not only to be tired but also to feel irritable and lethargic and have difficulty focusing on tasks.
People with insomnia may also become anxious about sleeping. They worry about not getting enough rest; for some, just getting ready for bed makes them tense and uneasy. And, not surprisingly, these feelings make falling asleep enormously difficult.
The symptoms of insomnia include trouble falling asleep; awakening frequently during the night; awakening very early and being unable to return to sleep; and experiencing fatigue during the day, morning headaches, and irritability.
The main signs and symptoms of insomnia are trouble getting or staying asleep, or waking early, followed by a distinct feeling of fatigue (tiredness) the following day. Most often, daytime symptoms will bring people to seek medical attention. Daytime problems caused by insomnia include anxiousness, irritability, fatigue (tiredness), poor concentration and focus, difficulty with memory, impaired motor coordination, irritability and impaired social interaction, and motor vehicle accidents because of fatigued, sleep-deprived drivers.
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Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is defined as difficulty falling asleep or difficulty maintaining sleep every night or most nights, despite an adequate opportunity to sleep. Other symptoms of insomnia include waking too early in the morning and being unable to fall back to sleep and experiencing an unrefreshing night's sleep. As a result of a poor night's sleep, you typically feel tired and irritable the next day and have trouble concentrating on everyday tasks. Insomnia also can be a symptom of other physical and mental conditions, such as depression, or even of another sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.
There are two basic forms of insomnia. In sleep-onset insomnia, a person has a difficult time falling asleep. In sleep-maintenance insomnia, a person suffers from frequent or early awakening.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.