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What is insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both, despite adequate opportunity and time to sleep, leading to impaired daytime functioning. Insomnia may be a cause of or result of poor quality and/or quantity of sleep.

Insomnia is very common. Ninety percent of the general population has experienced acute insomnia at least once. Approximately 10% of the population may suffer from chronic (long-standing) insomnia.

The problem affects people of all ages including children, although it is more common in adults and its frequency increases with age. In general, women are affected more frequently than men.

Return to Insomnia (Symptoms, Causes, Remedies, and Cures)

See what others are saying

Comment from: barb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I have had insomnia for about 40 years. I couldn't fall asleep for hours; when I woke up in the middle of the night I couldn't go back to sleep. About 10 years ago, my doctor prescribed trazodone. About 95 percent of the time, it puts me to sleep within a half hour. I take 1/2 to 1 pill before going to bed; when I wake up in the middle of the night, I take another 1/2. Most nights I get 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep. Trazodone has been an absolute life changer for me, and I take less now than when I started. Plus, it's cheap.

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Comment from: ziutenka, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I have been an insomniac for 12 years, since the menopause hit. First with great hesitation I tried sleeping pill zopicone 7.5 mg, it worked for many years, I slept 7 to 8 hours, and felt great in the morning. Not anymore. I am up at 2 am and pour myself a drink, alcohol and then I sleep. I have hangover in the morning. I tried to quit the pills cold turkey, after two sleepless night I was so exhausted that my blue pills were necessity to my existence. Insomnia is a physiological l disorder of the brain, like depression or schizophrenia. And I tried everything, yoga, acupuncture, milk, banana, walk, positive thinking, breathing....I am never sleepy and I never yawn.

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Comment from: pks, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 12

I'm a retiree for last 12 years. I had a busy working life, particularly there was disturbance of sleep in the night due to frequent telephone calls as per demand of the job. After retirement, sleep disturbance started leading to no sleep at all. For the last 11 years I'm taking 5mg zolpidem and .5mg alprazolam 10 minutes before dinner time (9pm). After dinner I fall asleep instantaneously. I do daily brisk walking 5/6 km and physical exercises for 30 minutes. Physically I'm very fit. I have hypertension and am taking 5mg amlodipine and 25mg losartan.

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