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Insomnia: Causes, Risk Factor and Diagnosis

Excessive stress in the present day contributes to a lot of health issues. Other reasons are unhealthy food habits and lack of exercise. Lifestyle over the past few decades has changed in a drastic manner and has brought in new diseases.

Insomnia: Causes, Risk Factor and Diagnosis

Sentinel Digital Desk

Insomnia is one such issue that has many individuals as its victim. It is a sleep disorder which is faced by a wide range of people. Changing lifestyle, work profile, eating habits, leisure activities and different life stresses causes disruption in the sleep patterns of people. A person with insomnia can't fall asleep, stay asleep or get enough rest by sleeping. Excessive sleep, lack of sleep ends up as the cause of health problems like diabetes, hypertension and weight gain. This can be changed through behavioral and lifestyle changes and you can get rest. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and sleeping pills are medical options that can help you get a proper sleep.

There are different kinds of Insomnia. Insomnia can be short term, or it may be an ongoing, longstanding issue. The types are short term insomnia and chronic insomnia. Short term insomnia tends to last for a few days or weeks and is often triggered by stress, while chronic insomnia is when the sleep difficulties happen at least three times a week for three months or longer.

Insomnia symptoms occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population while Chronic Insomnia disorder that is associated with distress or impairment is estimated at 10% to 15%.


Many things can be the reason for the development of insomnia. It can be environmental, physiological and psychological factors. Some such factors are: Life stressors including your job, relationships, financial difficulties and more; unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits; anxiety disorders, depression and/or other mental health problems; chronic diseases like cancer, chronic pain due to arthritis, fibromyalgia or other conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn, hormone fluctuations due to menstruation, menopause, thyroid disease or other issues; medications and other substances; neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease and other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

Risk Factors of insomnia

According to research, women suffer from insomnia more than men. Pregnancy and hormonal shifts can also negatively influence sleep. Hormonal changes like premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause, can also influence sleep. Over the age of 60, insomnia becomes more common. Bodily changes related to aging can make it difficult for older people to sleep soundly and because they may have medical conditions or take medications that disturb sleep.

When you can't fall asleep or your rest is fitful, you may: be irritable, anxious or depressed; feel fatigued or low on energy throughout the day; have memory problems or difficulty concentrating; struggle at work, school or in relationships.

Ways to diagnose Insomnia

There is no specific test to diagnose insomnia. A healthcare personal will perform a physical exam and ask questions to get more knowledge about your sleep problems and symptoms. Your sleep history is one of the key information for the diagnosis of insomnia, which your healthcare professional will review. They will also review your medical history and medications you are taking to see if they may be affecting your ability to sleep. Additionally you may have to: Get a blood test: your doctor may want you do a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems or low iron levels that can negatively impact sleep. Secondly you may have to keep a sleep diary: you may be asked to write down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks (bedtime, wake time, naps, caffeine use, etc.) This information can help your provider identify patterns or behaviors that interfere with rest. And you may also have to complete a sleep study: Sleep studies (polysomnograms) are not necessary for diagnosing insomnia. If your doctor has concerns that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred.

Also Read: Few Steps to Ensure a Greener, Healthier Planet

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