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What is Insomnia? How to identify Insomnia and ways to cure it?

Last updated on : 04 Jun, 2024

Read time : 9 min

What is Insomnia?

Did you know that about 30 percent of adults have insomnia symptoms? Insomnia is a common sleep complaint that occurs when you have a hard time initiating sleep, struggle to maintain sleep, and wake up frequently during the night. During this condition, you tend to wake up too early and cannot go back to sleep. Your sleep is nonrestorative or of poor quality.

This condition is different from sleep deprivation, which occurs when an individual does not have the opportunity to get a full night of sleep. Learn more about insomnia, its causes, symptoms, tips, insomnia home remedies and insomnia treatment.

Types of Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia – acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). 

  • Acute insomnia is common. It occurs due to stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. It usually lasts for days or weeks.
  • Chronic insomnia is more severe. It lasts for a month or longer. It occurs due to medical conditions, medicines, and other sleep disorders. Lifestyle factors such as excessive caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol misuse can also cause this condition.

Symptoms of Insomnia 

Insomnia is a condition that describes difficulty with sleep. Due to this trouble sleeping you feel unrefreshed during the day and have difficulty with daytime functioning including completing your daily tasks.

The main insomnia symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep 
  • Problems staying asleep 
  • Frequent awakening at night (fragmented sleep) 
  • Awakening early in the morning 
  • Lying awake for a long time before you fall asleep
  • Sleeping for only short periods
  • Feeling as if you haven’t slept at all

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia can occur due to a number of factors, including worry and stress, health conditions, and alcohol or drug abuse. It is important to address these causes as it can lead to physical distress and worsen your condition. The main causes of insomnia include:

  • stress at work
  • family pressures
  • traumatic event
  • certain medical conditions
  • medicines
  • Chronic pain
  • other sleep disorders
  • caffeine 
  • tobacco
  • alcohol use
  • Eating too much late in the evening
  • Anxiety
  • Poor sleep routine 

Risk Factors for Insomnia

A high rate of insomnia is seen in middle-aged and older adults. Furthermore, if you have any physical problems, it can make it more difficult to sleep well. The other risk factors for insomnia include:

  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop insomnia.
  • Illness: People who have a medical or psychiatric illness, including depression, are at risk for insomnia.
  • Taking medications: People who use medications may experience insomnia as a side effect. 

Complications of Insomnia condition

The long-term effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders like insomnia can lead to a wide range of chronic health consequences. These include: 

  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or anger
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Anxiety about sleep
  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor Memory
  • Poor quality performance at school or work
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • Headaches or tension
  • Upset stomach
  • Mistakes/accidents at work or while driving 
  • Heart disease/heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Chronic pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • Neurologic issues
  • Urinary problems
  • Respiratory difficulties

Diagnosing Insomnia

If you are not getting enough sleep, which affects your daily activities, consult your doctor. If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep for at least three nights a week, you may suffer from insomnia. It is a serious problem when it occurs three or more nights a week and lasts three months or longer. Your doctor may perform tests to see whether your insomnia is causing any other health issues.

You may start monitoring your sleep routine through a sleep diary 1 to 2 weeks before seeing your doctor. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps each day. Also, write down how sleepy you feel throughout the day when you drink caffeine or alcohol and when you exercise. This will help your doctor understand your problems and the cause of your insomnia.

Impact of Insomnia on Health and Well-being

Insomnia affects health by increasing the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It makes daily tasks harder by causing fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Your productivity also hampers. insomnia can lead to decreased alertness, memory problems, and slower reaction times. It disrupts well-being and makes it harder to cope with daily tasks.

Tips for Managing Insomnia During Stressful Times

Here are some common strategies you must consider for insomnia treatment:

  • Make sure you wake up and go to bed simultaneously every day.
  • Maintain the ambience of your bedroom for a comfortable sleep.
  • Use comfortable bedding and pillows for proper sleep.
  • Avoid watching TV or using mobile phones before bed.
  • Do not consume caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, as these substances can interfere with sleep.
  • Exercise regularly to promote good sleep, but do not exercise too close to bedtime as it can stimulate the body and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Practise deep breathing, and meditation, to relax and reduce stress.
  • Stop viewing the alarm clock
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes or using nicotine products (including
  • e-cigarettes)
  • Avoid napping and irregular bedtimes
  • Do not eat heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Avoid drinking a lot of fluid late at night.
  • Consult your doctor if you are experiencing insomnia due to pain, anxiety, depression, or other medical conditions.
  • You can also try melatonin and valerian root supplements to promote sleep.

Home Remedies for Insomnia

Here are 9 effective insomnia home remedies that can improve your sleep and help you deal with this issue.

  1. Mustard seeds: Mustard seeds are rich in melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that is linked to good quality of sleep. Incorporating mustard in your food at night can help you sleep better.
  2. Comfortable bedding: A comfortable bed provides proper support to the body, reducing pressure points and promoting relaxation. It generates a sense of calmness and comfort, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
  3. Almonds: Almonds are a great source of melatonin and magnesium. Both are sleep-enhancing nutrients, making them a great food to eat before bed. You can have it in the form of almond milk or almond in soaked form.
  4. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are also rich in melatonin, tryptophan, and magnesium. All these are the nutrients involved in inducing good sleep and promoting a relaxing effect. So you must include flaxseeds in your diet to effectively treat sleep disorders.
  5. Spinach: Spinach is a great source of calcium. Adequate calcium levels can help restore the normal course of sleep. Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to induce sleep. Therefore, you can have spinach for dinner for better sleep.
  6. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are also a rich source of melatonin that can help you sleep better. You can have it in the form of low-calorie salads or soups for dinner for weight loss and good sleep.
  7. Olives: Olives are rich in melatonin. You can add it to your salads to increase the nutritional content of your food while improving your sleep quality.
  8. Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is a rich source of apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain to induce sleep and treat insomnia. Therefore, sipping a nice cup of chamomile tea after dinner will help you relieve the stress of your hectic day by inducing a soothing effect.
  9. Meditation: Practising meditation for half an hour daily can reduce stress, boost resilience, improve mood, and enhance immunity. These factors will all help improve sleep quality. 

Related Blog: Types of Sleep Disorders and How to Treat Them?

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sleep

  • Give up on alcohol
  • Avoiding drinking excess water before nighttime
  • Avoid oversleeping during the day
  • Include melatonin supplementation in your diet
  • Sip a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime to induce better sleep
  • Reduce your stress
  • Exercise daily


7 to 9 hours of sleep is essential for repairing and energising the brain, consolidating memories, and regulating hormones. Insufficient sleep or insomnia can impair our physical, mental, and emotional health, leading to various health problems. Include foods high in calcium, magnesium, melatonin, and tryptophan. These foods are considered best for insomnia. Furthermore, make certain changes in your routine, such as limiting screen time, avoiding daytime naps, heavy meals and water close to bedtime. If you have insomnia symptoms, monitor your sleeping pattern and discuss it with your doctor to get the required treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I stop my insomnia?

Insomnia can be stopped by practising a good sleep routine, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment. You should also limit screen time, and avoid daytime naps, heavy meals and water close to bedtime.

Who suffers from insomnia?

Those who are having stress at work, family pressures, taking certain medications, dealing with depression, chronic pain, and drinking excessive alcohol are more likely to suffer from insomnia.

Can insomnia be cured?

Insomnia cure can be done with the right combination of lifestyle changes, therapies, and medication.

At what age does insomnia start?

Insomnia can start at any age, but it’s more common in adults.

What is the first stage of insomnia?

During the first stage of insomnia, you experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep occasionally.

Is insomnia Painful?

Insomnia is not a painful condition, but it can cause significant discomfort and frustration due to difficulty falling asleep. It can lead to feelings of exhaustion and irritability.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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