Insomnia : causes and meaning

What is insomnia? What are the meaning and causes of insomnia? These are questions that we will answer below.

This is the most common sleep disorder and is characterized by the subjective perception of unsatisfactory sleep, both in duration and in restorative capacity, which also produces interference during wakefulness, negatively influencing the quality of life. It most often affects adult women, although it is becoming more frequent in men and children. Despite the importance of sleep in a person’s life, and the fact that we spend an average of a third of our lives sleeping, most people know little about both sleep and insomnia. Deep sleep music is the best cure for this hectic disease.


The process by which we go from wakefulness to sleep is so complex that defining insomnia becomes just as difficult. Therefore, the simplest thing is to define it from the subjective experience of those who suffer from it. In this way, it is defined in three ways:

  • Persistent difficulty in initiating sleep.
  • Persistent difficulty staying asleep for a sufficient number of hours.
  • Difficulty continuing sleep if interrupted.

Insomnia is often accompanied by a subjective experience of restlessness or anxiety while the person is unable to sleep and tired during the day.

The most important thing about insomnia is the impact it has during wakefulness. Resting poorly at night and daytime tiredness are related to traffic accidents, poor academic and work performance, irritability and arguments, headaches, and caffeine abuse. Caffeine abuse usually leads to a new episode of insomnia the following night, which ends up causing a vicious circle that is difficult to break.

“ Insomnia is a problem that affects both day and night. ”

How many people have insomnia?

Approximately 25-35% of people suffer from this problem. That is, one in three people have trouble sleeping throughout the night. If we also take into account daytime symptoms (drowsiness, lack of energy or concentration problems), the percentage drops to between 6 and 10%. Even so, it is a very high proportion: one in ten people has trouble sleeping and it affects them throughout the day.

“ One in three people have problems initiating or maintaining sleep. ”

Chronic insomnia is a very common problem that affects all ages, 40% more women than men. It affects more people with low socioeconomic status, possibly because they have more concerns and problems. Within that it can occur at any age, insomnia is more frequent in older people due to the physiological deterioration of sleep that occurs over time, the increase in the number of diseases and the taking of medications that can interfere with sleep .

“ Chronic insomnia affects 40% more women than men. ”

How many people with insomnia go to the doctor?

Less than 50% of people with insomnia go to the doctor , despite the negative consequences it has on a person’s quality of life, their mood, their social interaction and their work performance.

This low consultation percentage is possibly due to two factors:

  • to the normalization of insomnia as something daily and unavoidable in certain situations.
  • to the fear of receiving a hypnotic medication that the patient believes they must take for life.

“ Less than half of people with insomnia see their doctor. ”

It is so true that few people consult because of it they suffer from, as too many people take sleeping pills.

The first approach to insomnia should be education and sleep hygiene. Lastly, and when the previous steps have failed, we can consider prescribing medication for it, but always for a limited time. Better go for natural meditation like Sleep music.


The causes of insomnia can be multiple. From specific stressful events to anxiety disorders, through medical illnesses, pain, medications and addictive substances that can cause insomnia.

Acute or short-term insomnia (less than three months) usually occurs in response to a stressful situation that is easily identifiable by the person who suffers it and does not usually require further study. However, in chronic problems (greater than three months) a diagnosis must be established and possible precipitants must be investigated in order to remedy it as soon as possible.

Before diagnosing what is now known as a chronic disorder or insomnia disorder (formerly primary insomnia), we must rule out a series of diseases, substances, drugs or habits that may be the cause of this.

anxiety causing insomnia

Most psychiatric illnesses can cause insomnia, as well as illnesses that cause physical pain at night.

The main psychiatric illnesses that cause it are: anxiety , depression , post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Some of these diseases occur with other sleep disorders in addition, such as the nightmares that typically appear in post-traumatic stress disorder.

The main cause of insomnia is anxiety. For this reason, it is so important that a psychiatrist makes an evaluation of the person suffering from it.

Diseases that cause this disease

As we said, physical pain often causes insomnia. This physical pain can be acute, such as post-surgical or traumatic pain, or it can be chronic, such as pain from a hernia.

Gastroesophageal reflux usually causes this problem, so it is recommended to have a small amount of food for dinner and to allow at least two or three hours. To pass between the end of dinner and the patient going to bed.

Middle-aged men with benign prostatic hyperplasia may get up several times a night to urinate. And this means that they have interrupted sleep that does not allow them to rest all night in a row. It is recommended that they go to the urologist to receive specific treatment.

“ A person with chronic insomnia should consult a specialist because it is very likely that they also suffer from anxiety or another mental health problem. ”