What is it ?
Insomnia refers to difficulties sleeping experienced in a context where it is normally possible to sleep. The subject finds it difficult to fall asleep, and experiences insufficient or non-restorative sleep as well as fatigue during the day.
It is characterized by :
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Frequent or prolonged nighttime awakening
- Waking up too early in the morning
How long can insomnia last ?
In other cases, insomnia may become chronic. This happens when patients start to worry about insomnia and its consequences. The patient feels a growing apprehension as bedtime approaches. Sleep anxiety becomes a sustaining factor, thus leading to a vicious circle.
In most cases, insomnia lasts for a short period of time (between 1 and 3 months), and is called transient insomnia.
The consequences of insomnia
Insomnia is often trivialised, and sometimes seen as a consequence of stress rather than an illness in its own right. Left untreated, this disorder can become chronic.
Insomnia has an impact on the subject’s health and quality of life. It can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating and mood disorders. It can also exacerbate symptoms of other health problems such as migraines, pain, etc.
I don’t get a lot of sleep : is it insomnia ?
Contrary to what you may think, sleep duration is not a good indicator of insomnia because sleep needs vary from one person to the next. Some people only need 4 or 5 hours of sleep to be fit, while others need their 9 hours!
A person is considered to have insomnia when, at least three times a week and for several weeks, they experience difficulty falling asleep for longer than 30 minutes and/or prolonged night or anticipated awakening.