Definition of Insomnia

People with insomnia find it hard to get to sleep and to stay asleep. They may wake early and then have trouble getting back to sleep again.

Anxious, depressed or worrying thoughts are usual around bedtime, and thoughts may even race, making relaxation and sleep difficult. So the result is poor quality of sleep, and next morning the person feels tired, irritable, distressed, and often unable to concentrate on or cope with work.

True insomnia is having a disturbed sleep pattern of more than three nights a week over a period of at least one month.

Most people have a few nights when they don’t sleep well, and that is fairly normal, so not to worry.

Short term insomnia is classified as happening over days or weeks. It could be due to changes in work arrangements, for example night shift, or jet lag, or acute stress which causes temporary worry or emotional upset.

Long term insomnia is more than a month duration, and can be caused by a long term anxiety condition, menopause (male or female), pregnancy, having a new infant or infants, or chronic pain, and I can relate to most of those things!


Medical, environmental, psychological conditions or a person’s poor lifestyle habits are often involved with several of these interacting.

Why do we need sleep?

It’s fairly obvious that if we don’t get enough good quality sleep we feel crap the next morning. We need a good night’s sleep to restore energy to our brain and body, to nourish the immune system, and to awake from sleep feeling refreshed and looking forward to the next day.

It’s easy to see that a poor night’s sleep could be the cause of accidents, with our reaction times slowed. Our concentration, memory, and general well-being is reduced, and we feel mentally sluggish.

As well as these things there are a whole lot of other medical factors which are affected leading to ill-health, and poor functioning which I will go through later.

© Kathleen Crawford 2016