What is Insomnia?

Can't get some quality zzzzzz's? It may be insomina. House Call Doctor explains a few possible causes of this frustrating condition.

House Call Doctor
1-minute read

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as a problem falling asleep or staying asleep. However, it’s not the lack of sleep that matters; it’s the consequences of not sleeping that make insomnia a problem, which include poor concentration, increased errors in judgment, accidents, headaches, stomach problems, and more. All of these can lead to anxiety and depression.

There are many possible causes of insomnia. They include:

  • Stressors – Good stressors, such as a new job, or bad stressors, such as having a bad job to go to. The good news is that this is usually limited in duration.

  • Psychiatric conditions - These can be a number of things, such as clinical depression and anxiety disorders.

  • Alcohol - Studies have shown that it makes sleep much less restful,

  • Medications – Stimulant drugs like Ritalin are obvious culprits for sleep disturbance, but asthma medications, steroids used for asthma or arthritis, blood pressure pills, decongestant cold medicines, and some antidepressants can also interfere with sleep.

  • Medical problems - Conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux (which wake you up during the night); prostate, urinary tract, and endocrine problems (which make you get up to pee a lot during the night); and painful conditions and those that just make you uncomfortable (such as a bad head cold).

  • Caffeine

Find out more about the causes and possible treatments of insomnia.

Insomnia image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.