Insomnia

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideSleep Better, Conquer Insomnia

Sleep Better, Conquer Insomnia

What situational and stress factors cause insomnia?

Common situational and stress factors leading to acute or adjustment insomnia may include:

  • Jet lag
  • Physical discomfort (hot, cold, lighting, noise, unfamiliar surroundings)
  • Working different shifts
  • Stressful life situations (divorce or separation, death of a loved one, losing a job, preparing for an examination)
  • Illicit drug use
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Caffeine intake prior to going to bed
  • Alcohol intoxication or withdrawal
  • Certain medications

Most of these factors may be short-term, transient, and controllable or modifiable by actions an individual decides to take, and therefore insomnia may resolve in many individuals when the underlying factor is removed or corrected.

What are the risk factors for insomnia?

There are no specific risk factors for insomnia because of the variety of underlying causes that may lead to insomnia. The medical and psychiatric conditions listed earlier may be considered risk factors for insomnia if untreated or difficult to treat. Some of the emotional and environmental situations that were also mentioned above may act as risk factor for insomnia.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Impairment of daytime functioning is the defining and the most common symptom of insomnia.

Other common symptoms include:

  • daytime fatigue,
  • daytime sleepiness,
  • mood changes,
  • poor attention and concentration,
  • lack of energy,
  • anxiety,
  • poor social function,
  • headaches, and
  • increased errors and mistakes.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2015

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