Home Diseases & Conditions Insomnia – 10 Possible Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Insomnia – 10 Possible Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Insomnia is a condition when someone has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or doing both.

Individuals who suffer from difficulty sleeping frequently do not feel refreshed when they awaken from sleep. This can result in fatigue and other unpleasant symptoms.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, insomnia is the most prevalent of all sleep disorders (APA).

Indeed, the APA reports that approximately one-third of all individuals experience symptoms of insomnia. Between 6% and 10% of all individuals experience symptoms severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of insomnia disorder.


Causes of Insomnia

The reasons for your difficulty sleeping will vary according to the type of insomnia you are experiencing. Some common causes are:

  • stress
  • a distressing or terrible occurrence
  • changes in your sleeping habits, such as staying in a hotel or moving to a new home
  • bodily discomfort
  • airline jet lag
  • sleep-related medical issues, such as arthritis or back discomfort
  • psychological difficulties, for example, anxiety or sadness
  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • diabetes

Risk factors for Insomnia

Insomnia can strike anyone at any age and is more prevalent in women than males.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)Trusted Source, those who have certain risk factors for insomnia are more prone to experience it. These risk factors include the following:

  • elevated levels of stress
  • emotional illnesses, such as despair or distress associated with a traumatic experience in one’s life
  • income inequality
  • traveling via many time zones
  • sedentary kind of life
  • alterations to work hours or night shift labor
  • can also be a result of certain medical disorders, such as obesity or cardiovascular disease.
  • Menopause can also cause sleeplessness.

Symptoms of insomnia

Individuals who suffer from difficulty sleeping frequently report at least one of the following symptoms:

  • getting up very early in the morning
  • sleep that is unrefreshing
  • difficulty falling or remaining asleep

These insomnia symptoms may precipitate the development of further symptoms, including the following:

  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • Additionally, you may have difficulties concentrating on daily duties.

Insomnia treatment

Insomnia can be treated with or without drugs. Your doctor can advise you on the most appropriate therapies. You may need to experiment with several different therapies before determining which one is most helpful for you.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic insomnia in adults as a first-line treatment.

Additionally, sleep hygiene education may be recommended. Occasionally, sleep-disrupting habits result in insomnia. Training in sleep hygiene might assist you in modifying some of these disturbing behaviors.

Among the suggested adjustments are the following:

  • avoiding caffeinated beverages in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • avoiding exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • decreasing time spent in bed that is not spent sleeping, such as watching TV or surfing the web on your phone

If an underlying psychological or medical problem is causing your insomnia, treating it appropriately will help you sleep better.

Medications for insomnia

If CBT and sleep hygiene fails to treat insomnia, medications may be used.

An antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine, is an example of an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that can be used for sleep (Benadryl).

Because these medications have the potential for negative effects, particularly over the long term, it’s critical to consult a physician before starting an OTC insomnia drug.

The following prescription drugs may be used to treat insomnia:

  • eszopiclone eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • tranquilizer zolpidem (Ambien)

Consult your physician before beginning any prescription or supplement regimen to manage your sleeplessness.

There could be potentially harmful side effects or drug interactions. Not all “sleep aids” are suitable for everyone.

Making lifestyle modifications or experimenting with home remedies can help treat many bouts of insomnia effectively.

You can also try warm milk, herbal tea, or valerian as natural sleep aids.


Meditation is a drug-free, natural, and simple approach of treating insomnia.

Meditation, according to the Mayo Clinic, can also help with the symptoms of diseases that may contribute to sleeplessness. These include the following:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • digestive issues
  • pain

Numerous apps and videos are available to assist you in your meditation practice.


During the sleep cycle, the body naturally creates the hormone melatonin. Individuals frequently take melatonin pills in the goal of enhancing their sleep. There is some evidence that supplements may help you fall asleep more quickly, but additional research is needed.

Melatonin is usually considered to be safe for a brief length of time, but its safety over an extended period of time has not been shown.

When considering the use of melatonin, it is always prudent to consult your physician.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are potent fragrant liquids derived from a range of sources, including:

  • plants
  • flowers
  • trees

People use essential oils to treat a number of ailments by breathing them or massaging them into their skin. This is referred to as aromatherapy.

The following essential oils are believed to aid in sleep:

  • Chamomile romana
  • cedarwood
  • lavender
  • sandalwood
  • neroli, also known as bitter orange

When utilized properly, essential oils generally have no adverse consequences. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classed the majority of essential oils as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).

However, there are no rules regulating aromatherapy in the United States, and practicing without a license is permitted. As a result, it is critical to choose practitioners and goods wisely.


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