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Insomnia means having trouble with the quality or quantity of sleep. It can be caused by difficulties in either falling asleep or staying asleep. Self-reported sleeping problems, hating the sleep quality and day time tiredness are the only defining characteristics of insomnia because it is such an individual experience. The concept of good sleep is different from person to person. While the average night's sleep for an adult is around seven or eight hours, some people only need four, while others like up to 10 hours or more. What seems like insomnia to one person might be considered a good sleep by another (Florence Cardinal, Your Guide to Sleep Disorders.)

There are three types of insomnia: Secondary insomnia, Primary sleep disorders, and Idiopathic insomnia. Secondary insomnia is due to a range of medical and psychiatric problems and the chronic use of drugs and alcohol. Primary sleep disorders include circadian rhythm disorders, central sleep apnoea-insomnia syndrome, inadequate sleep syndromes and periodic limb movement or restless legs syndromes. Idiopathic insomnia is sleeplessness without a known cause, formerly called childhood onset insomnia. (Defined by Florence Cardinal, Your Guide to Sleep Disorders.)

In this paper I will try to go over all the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of insomnia. I will go over all the many people who suffer from insomnia and why? The topic is something I understand somewhat because I have suffered from this sense the year 2000. Hopefully I will be able to inform and maybe understand this problem better with this research.

A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short term insomnia which includes an acute illness, injury or surgery, the loss of a loved one, job loss, extremes in the weather, an exam, traveling, or trouble at work the list can go on and on. In most cases, normal sleep almost always returns when the condition resolves, the individual recovers from the event, or the person becomes accustomed to the new situation (Lamberg &Smolensky, 2000.) Then there is real insomnia or what doctors call Psycho physiologic insomnia which could happen if the short term insomnia is not solved. In many cases, it is unclear if chronic insomnia is a symptom of some physical or psychological condition or if it is a primary disorder of its own, (Lamberg &Smolensky, 2000) in most instances, a collaboration of psychological and physical conditions causes the failure to sleep.

According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, Chronic insomnia is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, including underlying physical or mental disorders. One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and hyperthyroidism. However, chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioral factors, including the misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances; disrupted sleep and wake cycles may occur with shift work or other nighttime activity schedules and chronic stress (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke National Institutes of Health.)

Risk factor studies estimate that between a quarter and one-third of American and European adults experience some insomnia each year, with between 10% and 20% of them suffering severe sleeplessness. In spite of this widespread problem, however, studies suggest that only about 30% of American adults who visit their doctor ever discuss sleep problems. Conversely, physicians seem rarely to ask patients about their sleep habits or problems. A 2003 University of Maryland Medical Center study suggested that there were seven significant factors that predicted who would be at high risk for insomnia: Being older, having conflicts with relatives, overworked at a job, at home, taking care of a sick loved one, low social status, and having psychiatric and psychologic problem. Overall, insomnia is more common in women than men, although men are not immune from insomnia. Sleep efficiency deteriorates equally in men and women as they get older. It is not clear why young adult women suffer more from insomnia than young adult men.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the health problems that a person can receive from insomnia varies on the person but a 2002 study of sleeping habits in over one million people reported that people who slept seven hours a night enjoyed the longest life. Those who slept 8 hours or more or 6 hours or less had higher mortality rates. People with insomnia did not have elevated mortality rates, which supported earlier evidence. People who took sleeping pills, however, did have lower survival rates. Insomnia is virtually never lethal except in rare cases, such the genetic disorder called fatal familial insomnia. This rare degenerative brain disease develops in late adulthood. It is progressive and the individual develops intractable insomnia, which eventually becomes fatal.

Insomnia also affects the person's mood and quality of life. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center other surveys in 2001 and 2002 reported that people with severe insomnia had a quality of life that was almost as poor as in people with chronic conditions such as heart failure. Another survey in 2001 and 2002 reported that people with severe insomnia had a quality of life that was almost as poor as in people with chronic conditions such as heart failure. Insomniacs also experience more irritability, mistakes at work, and poorer relationships with their family than people who sleep well.

Effects on the physical health on the Heart, although there has been some concern that insomnia may increase the risk for heart problems, little evidence has supported any significant dangers. One study reported signs of heart and nervous system activity in people with chronic insomnia that might place such individuals at risk for coronary heart disease. If it exists, however, this increased danger is very modest compared with other risk factors for heart disease. Yet another report suggested that sleep complaints in elderly people without coronary artery disease predicted a first heart attack. Sleep disorders in such cases may have been a marker for depression, however, which is a risk factor for heart attacks in elderly people. Effects on the Immune System were also reported in a 2003 study which stated significant differences in immune factors among sleepers, with higher levels of certain infection-fighters observed in good sleepers than in people with chronic insomnia. The significance of these findings is still unknown, however.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Diagnosing sleep disturbance and its cause is the most important



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