By: Sam Osborn

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is not simply just not being able to sleep. The disorder is characterized by the DSM as an inability to imitate or maintain sleep in such as way in which it dramatically effects ones life (CDC/DSM, 2016). Sub types of insomnia are made up of each of the factors that can led to insomnia in general (Ex. Insomnia due to medical condition, Sleep hygiene insomnia.) It can be causes by a number of factors that distract the brain from getting its needed rest. Some major examples consist of:
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stimulants such as caffeine
  • Medical Conditions

However, there are also minor, yet fixable, complications that deal with insomnia such as:

  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Electronics before bed
  • Increase exercise throughout day
  • Relaxation techniques

Am I at Risk?

Insomnia is most prevalent among people over the age of 60 years. More than 3 million people are diagnosed with insomnia each year in the U.S (Mayo Clinic, 2016). however the disorder is worldwide. It is also more common among African-Americans than any other race and more prevalent in women over men (Mental Health, 2016). It is mostly unknown why African-Americans are more at risk for insomnia than other ethnic groups. Women, on the other hand, are more at risk of this sleep disorder due to hormonal changes and complications with the menstrual cycle. However, anyone is at risk of insomnia if they suffer from any of the causes listed in the section "What is Insomnia?"
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What are the Symptoms?

There are many symptoms of insomnia. Some can be listed here:

  • Constant difficulty with falling asleep
  • Not feeling rested
  • Headaches
  • Concentration problems
  • Depressed mood
  • Brain fog

What Treatments are Available?

Treatments for these symptoms and insomnia in general consist of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications such as Ambien which dissolve to form chemicals to help provide sleep. Also different behavioral therapies such as relaxation therapy, stimulus control therapy, cognitive therapy, etc. All of these work to ease the mind and improve quality of sleep for the patient.

Case Study

It is said that famous Hollywood actor, George Clooney, suffers from mild insomnia. He told The Holly wood Reporter in February that even though he's in bed by 10 p.m., he wakes up throughout the night (Fox News). "Without question, I wake up every night five times," Clooney remarks. But supposedly during one of his sleepless nights, Clooney was able to write a memorable scene between himself and Ryan Gosling in the movie Ides of March.
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