Insomnia overview and Definition

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder. Individuals with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or both might occur. People with insomnia often don’t feel refreshed when they wakeup from sleeping. This might lead to fatigue and other symptoms. The physician make a clinical diagnosis of insomnia if both of these criteria apply:

Sleep difficulties occurring atleast three nights a week for a minimum of 3 months. Sleep difficulties creating the major distress or functional difficulties in a person’s life.



Types of Insomnia:

There are two types of insomnia such as the primary and secondary.

Primary Insomnia:

This means the sleep problems aren’t linked to any other health condition or problem.

Secondary Insomnia:

This means you have trouble in sleeping because of a health conditions such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer or heartburn. Usage of pain, medications or other substances use like alcohol.

Sleep onset insomnia: This means you might have the trouble getting the sleep.

Sleep maintenance Insomnia:

This happens when you have trouble staying asleep through the night or wake up too early.

Mixed insomnia:

With this type of insomnia you have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep through the night.

Paradoxical Insomnia:

  • When you have paradoxical insomnia, you underestimate the time you're asleep. It feels like you sleep a lot less than you really do.


Clinical signs & symptoms

Insomnia symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night's sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

Differential Diagnosis

Sleep study:

It is also known as polysomnogram test. The sensors are placed in the scalp, face, eyelids, chest , limbs and one finger. These sensors monitors the brain wave activity, heart and breathing rates, oxygen levels and muscle movements that occur during the sleep.


This test is similar to overnight sleep studies.  The sensors are placed on the wrist or ankle that monitors sleep and wakefulness patterns. They are used in the treatment of the insomnia.



Many poor sleepers simply need help relaxing. If you're a habitual insomniac and trying to get to sleep just makes you more anxious and awake, try these alternative choices to help reduce your worry about sleep while relaxing your body and mind. If the root cause of insomnia is stress, any treatment must address the problem of stress in your life.

Breathing exercises can promote relaxation. Here's a routine you can do anywhere, anytime:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth.
  2. Inhale through your nose to a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Repeat the cycle three times.
  5. Make an exhale through the mouth for eight times.


Mind/Body Medicine

Good Sleep Habits

Be sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Eye shades may help since light comes in even through closed eyelids.

  • Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Keep the bedroom reserved for sleep and sex only.
  • Avoid heavy meals, smoking, alcohol, or caffeine near bedtime.