Insomnia is a sleeping disorder characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep dispite the opportunity. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomniacs have been known to complain about being unable to close their eyes or “rest their mind” for more than a few minutes at a time.


Patterns of Insomnia

  • Onset insomnia-difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night, often associated with anxiety disorders.


  • Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia- Insomnia characterized by difficulty returning to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night or waking too early in the morning. Also referred to as nocturnal awakenings, encompasses middle and terminal insomnia.


  • Middle Insomnia-waking during the middle of the night, difficulty maintaining sleep, often associated with medical illness.


  • Terminal (or late) insomnia-early morning waking is characteristic of clinical depression.



Insomnia can be caused by:

  • Psychoactive drugs or stimulants, including certain medications, herbs, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine, and amphetamines.

  • Hormone shifts such as those that precede menstruation and those during menopause.

  • Life problems like fear, stress, anxiety, emotional or mental tension, work problems, financial stress and unsatisfactory sex life.

  • Mental disorders such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and general anxiety disorder.

  • Disturbances of the circadian rhythm, such as shift work or jet lag.

  • Certain neurological disorders, brain lesions or a history of traumatic brain injury.

  • Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and Wilson’s syndrome.

  • Abuse of over the counter or prescription sleep aids can produce rebound insomnia.

  • Disruptive sleep events including nightmares, sleepwalking, violent behavior while sleeping, and REM behavior disorder, in which a person moves his/her physical body in response to events within his/her dreams.

  • The full moon lunar phase.


An overactive mind or physical pain may also be causes. Finding the under lying cause of insomnia is usually necessary to cure it. Insomnia can be common after the loss of a loved one if they have not gone through the grieving process. Overall, however, symptoms and the degree of severity affects different people differently, depending on their mental health, physical condition and attitude or personality.