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Insomnia Medications

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among people. Insomnia is defined as difficultly falling asleep, staying asleep, or both, resulting in inadequate length of sleep and/or poor quality of sleep, which may affect a person's ability to function during the day. Insomnia also may affect quality of life, work performance, and overall health. Insomnia is not a disease, but a symptom associated with a variety of medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorders.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2015

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Acute & Chronic Insomnia

Insomnia (in-SOM-ne-ah) is a common sleep disorder. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, they may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. They may not feel refreshed when they wake up.

Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Acute insomnia is common and often is brought on by situations such as stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. Acute insomnia lasts for days or weeks.

Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem. Certain medical conditions, medicines, sleep disorders, and substances can cause secondary insomnia.

In contrast, primary insomnia isn't due to medical problems, medicines, or other substances. It is its own distinct disorder, and its cause isn?t well understood. Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset.

Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy. It also can make you feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. You may have trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering. These problems can prevent you from doing your best at work or school.

Insomnia also can cause other serious problems. For example, you may feel drowsy while driving, which could lead to an accident.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is insomnia?

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Insomnia »

Insomnia is defined as repeated difficulty with the initiation, duration, maintenance, or quality of sleep that occurs despite adequate time and opportunity for sleep that results in some form of daytime impairment.

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