Health A-Z


Clinical Definition

Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, is a common sleep disorder. Those affected may be unable to fall sleep or to stay asleep, or may have early morning awakening, when the patient awakes several hours ahead of schedule and can’t fall back asleep.

In Our Own Words

Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, affects many people, at least occasionally. Some experience chronic insomnia, having problems falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early and not being able to resume sleep.

A diagnosis of insomnia does not depend on the number of hours a person sleeps since the amount of sleep required varies from person to person. Instead, insomnia is an inadequate quantity or quality of sleep that makes daytime functioning difficult. Before diagnosing the problem as insomnia, other causes should be considered: medication side effects, depression or substance abuse, for starters.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased concentration
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness

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