Do you struggle to get to sleep no matter how tired you are? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night and lie awake for hours, anxiously watching the clock? If so, you’re in good company. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, resulting in unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep. And it’s a very common problem, one that takes a toll on your energy, mood, and ability to function during the day. Chronic insomnia can even contribute to serious health problems.
Because different people need different amounts of sleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping—not the number of hours you sleep or how quickly you doze off. Even if you’re spending eight hours a night in bed, if you feel drowsy and fatigued during the day, you may be experiencing insomnia.
Although insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, it is not a single sleep disorder. It’s more accurate to think of insomnia as a symptom of another problem. The problem causing the insomnia differs from person to person. It could be something as simple as drinking too much caffeine during the day or a more complex issue like an underlying medical condition or feeling overloaded with responsibilities.
The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes you can make on your own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. By addressing the underlying causes and making simple changes to your daily habits and sleep environment, you can put a stop to the frustration of insomnia and finally get a good night’s sleep.