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What is insomnia? Do I really have insomnia or am I just sleeping poorly?

Insomnia is a term which is familiar to many people. However, many people use the term to describe their trouble sleeping, when they don't really have it. Amy De LaCour, our advisor in the subject, explains what insomia is, what the symptoms are, and how it is treated.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia falls under the category of sleep disorders rather than sleep problems. It is considered by doctors to be a medical, psychiatric or psychological condition. The term is used to describe a number of conditions. Examples are:

  • When someone experiences poor sleep as a result of a psychological or psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia
  • People who are depressed may suffer from insomnia
  • Insomnia can also occur with no apparent cause – in other words, you don’t have to suffer from any medical, psychiatric or psychological condition to suffer the problem. People suffering from true insomnia with no apparent cause appear to go for weeks with little or no sleep leading to sleep deprivation.

It is clear that these are not health conditions suitable for self-treatment and should be managed by the medical profession.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Aside from the obvious sleep difficulties, symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble building or maintaining relationships
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression

These may be familiar to those suffering from sleep disorders, but the distinction is in the degree of the problem and symptoms, and whether or not there is an underlying medical, psychological or psychiatric condition.

What treatments are there for insomnia?

If you think you have insomnia, you will need to go to your doctor to have the diagnosis confirmed. Your doctor will be able to work with you to find a treatment that is suitable and effective for you. This may take some time as different treatments work for different people.

Treatments for insomnia overlap with those of sleep disorders. Follow the link to our sleep aids page to find out what is available.

#A.Vogel Talks Sleep

Join experts Eileen Durward and Alison Cullen in the beautiful A.Vogel garden as they talk about sleep and why it is the one remedy we cannot do without. Discover their tips on how to improve your sleep quality including lifestyle changes and how herbs such as Hops and Valerian can help promote a better night’s sleep.

Leave your feedback

I would love to hear what you thought of the information you have read on this page. Just leave your comment below, thanks Amy.

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