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Most everyone has experienced trouble sleeping, but insomnia is very different from the occasional sleepless night. Sufferers frequently have trouble falling asleep (taking more than 30-45 minutes), staying asleep throughout the night or waking up too early. They often do not feel refreshed after sleep, leaving them feeling tired, depressed, sluggish, and irritable the next day.

Being unable to get a good night's sleep isn't simply frustrating; it can be dangerous. Each day, millions of sufferers — often fatigued and unable to focus on a task because of their insomnia — drive, operate heavy machinery, and perform jobs that require a high-level of concentration. This can lead to costly mistakes, life-threatening injuries, or death.

Some individuals are at greater risk of suffering from insomnia. Females, adults aged 60 years or older, and those who have a history of depression are more likely to experience insomnia. Stress, side effects of medicine, and anxiety coupled with gender, age, or depression may increase the likelihood of insomnia.

Causes & Symptoms of Insomnia

Generally, insomnia is actually a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Good sleep is a sign of health, whereas poor sleep can be indicative of a medical or psychiatric disorder - whether it be minor or serious

Transient insomnia, which only happens occasionally, may be triggered by a life stressor, for instance, a hard day at work, a big test, bruised muscles or jet lag.

Onset insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep at the begining of the night.

Maintenance insomnia is the inability to remain asleep or return to sleep after waking up during the night.

Short-term insomnia, which may last up to three weeks, is a more involved form of stress, mental or physical, such as financial troubles, divorce, grieving over the death of a loved one, health concerns and the like.

Chronic insomnia, lasts one month or longer. It is more complex and is often a result of a combination of factors, also known as being Comorbid (see below).

Causes of Chronic Insomnia

  • Depression
  • Misuse of caffeine or alcohol
  • Disrupted sleep cycle due to shift work
  • Chronic stress
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy

When to See the Sleep Center

Whether you experience transient, short-term or chronic insomnia, the Sleep Center can help. Remember, insomnia is a symptom of something else going on with your body, not the issue itself. That's why visiting a comprehensive sleep center like Sleep Center of the Rockies® is important. Many sleep labs cannot provide treatment for all sleep disorders.


Treatment for insomnia will vary based on the severity. Whether you experience transient, short-term or chronic insomnia, the Sleep Center can help. Sleeping pills can be an option, but only when taken for a brief period under a doctor's guidance. Truly treating insomnia is important - a doctor may identify conditions that require other forms of treatment.

Contact the Sleep Center of the Rockies® to find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia. There is no reason that you cannot get on a path to good health through better sleep!