Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which the person is unable to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. This sleep disorder is sometimes used to describe a disorder that is demonstrated by polysomnographic evidence of disturbed sleep and Insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either: “Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep”? or “Do you experience difficulty sleeping”?

Insomnia is often thought as a symptom and a medical sign that can accompany several sleep, medical, and psychiatric disorders that is characterized by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep or sleeping of poor quality. Insomnia is normally followed by functional impairment while the person is awake. Insomnia can occur at any age, but it is more common in the elderly. Insomnia can be short term (up to 3 weeks) or it could be long term (3-4+ weeks), which may lead to memory problems, depression, irritability, and an increased risk of heart disease as well as automobile related accidents. 

According to the DSM-5 criteria for insomnia include: “Predominant complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality, associated with one (or more) of the following symptoms: 

Difficulty initiating sleep. (In children, this may manifest as difficulty initiating sleep without caregiver intervention.) 

Difficulty maintaining sleep, characterized by frequent awakenings or problems returning to sleep after awakenings. (In children, this may manifest as difficulty returning to sleep without caregiver intervention.) 

Early-morning awakening with inability to return to sleep. 

In addition, The sleep disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, educational, academic, behavioral, or other important areas of functioning. 

The sleep difficulty occurs at least 3 nights per week. 
The sleep difficulty is present for at least 3 months. 
The sleep difficulty occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep. 

The insomnia is not better explained by and does not occur exclusively during the course of another sleep-wake disorder (e.g., narcolepsy, a breathing-related sleep disorder, a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder, a parasomnia). 

The insomnia is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication). Coexisting mental disorders and medical conditions do not adequately explain the predominant complaint of insomnia.” 

The three types of insomnia are transient, acute, and chronic, which are defined as:

 “1. Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week. It can be caused by another disorder, by changes in the sleep environment, by the timing of sleep, severe depression, or by stress. Its consequences – sleepiness and impaired psychomotor performance – are similar to those of sleep deprivation.

2. Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of less than a month. Insomnia is present when there is difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or when the sleep that is obtained is non-refreshing or of poor quality. These problems occur despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for sleep and they must result in problems with daytime function. Acute insomnia is also known as short term insomnia or stress related insomnia.

3. Chronic insomnia lasts for longer than a month. It can be caused by another disorder, or it can be a primary disorder. People with high levels of stress hormones or shifts in the levels of cytokines are more likely to have chronic insomnia. Its effects can vary according to its causes. They might include muscular fatigue, hallucinations, and/or mental fatigue. Chronic insomnia can cause double vision.”

In order to combat insomnia, there are several solutions that can help with insomnia that includes many holistic and alternative medicine therapies that include: Hydrotherapy, Herbal remedies, Nutritional advice, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Exercise, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Massage and Touch Therapies, Reiki, Meditation/Metaphysical therapies, Yoga, Guided Imagery, Color Therapy, Energy Medicine/Sound Therapy, and Crystal therapy.

Also to help with your wellness, you should try eating well to feel better as well as having moderate exercise and using stress relieving techniques. Some sleep aids can be over the counter sleeping pills. If you want to choose not to use sleeping pills, you can try to meditate, set up a bedtime routine, turning off the lights, turn off computers/TVs, taking calcium and magnesium, avoid stimulants and alcohol before bed, warm up before sleep, kefir and fish oil, and avoid eating large meals late at night.