Sleep Hygiene and Insomnia

What is Insomnia?

When you were little you may have been told to count sheep to get to sleep, but for people with insomnia it’s not that easy. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is defined by the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. People with this condition often wake up very early and are unable to fall back to sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies insomnia as a public health issue. Extreme lack of sleep has been linked to motor vehicle accidents, industrial disasters, medical errors and other occupational mistakes. A report by the National Department of Transportation, estimates that people who drove while feeling drowsy were responsible for 1550 fatalities and 40,000 injuries annually.

Insomnia can affect an individual’s day-to-day life and work performance.

There are three types of insomnia:

  • Acute insomnia: This is a common form of the disorder that is usually brought on by stress, pressures at home, or traumatic events, but can occur because of a change in environment or routine. It can last for days or weeks.
  • Chronic or secondary insomnia: This form is ongoing and can last for a month or longer. Chronic insomnia is usually a side effect or symptom of another issue or medical disorder.
  • Primary insomnia: This is the least understood of insomnia conditions. Like acute insomnia, it is linked to life changes such as continuous stress or emotional trauma, but it is ongoing.

Effects of Insomnia

The most obvious effect is daytime drowsiness, but it can also cause:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
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