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Insomnia by Mandi Magruder

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A clinical definition of Insomnia is when a person has a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, or sometimes both of the symptoms. A normal average is eight hours of sleep for a person to sleep. Usually, a person with Insomnia will take thirty minutes or more to fall asleep and get less than six hours of sleep for most of the week. If a person doesn’t get enough sleep during the night, then the chances are that they will wake up tired with no energy. The inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep can cause a loss of focus on everyday tasks, or not being able to function adequately as a person should. No rest can also cause tension headaches, which causes loss of attention or focus.

Certain causes of Insomnia include anxiety, stress, depression, and being on medication. Anxiety about school, homework, work, and life itself along with stress could easily cause a person to not be able to fall asleep with all of the worrying that they do. Chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression could also result in Insomnia. Certain medications that are stimulants also contribute to Insomnia.

While Insomnia occurs in individuals, one should expect a lower performance while at work or school due to a lack of focus and/or attention. Driving while sheepishly tired is very dangerous for the driver himself/herself and for other drivers or pedestrians, again because falling asleep while driving could occur, or not paying attention to others while driving could cause accidents. Insomnia could cause a person to become obese or overweight or have poor immune system functioning.

There are a few things that people with Insomnia could change first to observe if the changes are due to a flawed lifestyle or chemical imbalances in the brain. For example, a person should not drink coffee at night due to the caffeine, which is a stimulant, later in the evening. A person should not smoke because Nicotine is a stimulant as well. Although alcohol may help a person get to sleep, it does not allow for deeper levels of sleep…so waking up earlier than one is supposed to generally happens. New changes in environmental or work routines, or lifestyle habits such as eating in the evening, or poor sleep habits could also hinder a good night’s rest.

As a person ages, Insomnia becomes more of a common problem and other sleep problems could occur with changes in sleep patterns, activities, health, and increased uses of medications(that are stimulants). It is said that Insomnia occurs more so in women due to hormonal fluctuations monthly.

Proper adjustment in diet, beginning an exercise regimen, and sticking to a sleeping schedule could help decrease Insomnia. Limiting what a person eats before they go to bed is a way to decrease Insomnia as we know that eating increases energy. Exercising on a regular basis, along with a good sleep schedule could promote more sleeping time as well. Common sense would be to limit any naps taken during the day and a person should not lie down in bed if they do not intend on going to sleep. Other common sense remedies include actually finding time to relax and making the bedroom comfortable for sleep; turning out all lights, and making sure that temperatures are comparable to body heat and sweating that occurs while sleeping. Background noise(s) should be eliminated or lowered. If these ways to promote sleep do not work, other remedies include taking over-the-counter sleep-aids, or drinks that have sleep aids in them.


Insomnia (Jan. 7, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187


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