Insomnia | Symptoms & Treatment Options | Zencare — Zencare


Life can often be marked by stress and anxiety. This can be a normal response to the fast-paced, stressful world that we live in. It is common to occasionally have trouble falling asleep, and it can occur as a result of bringing life’s worries and stressors to bed with you.

Unfortunately, when insomnia and other sleep disorders cause tiredness, irritability, worrying about sleep and difficulty concentrating on daily activities, it is advisable to seek treatment.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep-wake mental health disorder that is characterized by difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking frequently. People with insomnia and other sleep disorders feel unsatisfied with their quality of sleep. Sleep disorders lead to dissatisfaction and distress, as well as difficulties socially, behaviorally, in school, and/or at work.


Prevalence of insomnia

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, around 30% of adults experience symptoms of insomnia.

Around 10% of adults have daytime distress as a result of their insomnia and less than 10% develop chronic insomnia.

There are higher rates of insomnia in women than in men. Those with a co-morbid (co-occurring) mental health disorder are more likely to develop insomnia. Middle aged and older adults are also more likely to experience insomnia.

Symptoms of insomnia

Common symptoms of insomnia, and other sleep disorders, include:

Common co-morbidities of insomnia include:

Additionally, a lack of sleep can compromise your immune system and lead to a higher risk of ailments including depression, dementia, anxiety, psychosis, and stroke.

Different types of insomnia

Two of the most common types of insomnia are acute insomnia and chronic insomnia.

What to do if you're experiencing insomnia

Here's what to do if you're experiencing insomnia:

How to find a therapist for insomnia

Seek a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

CBT-I is the top recommended treatment for insomnia, according to the American College of Physicians. It is a powerful approach that leads to the reduction of anxiety about sleep, and reduces the existing symptoms of insomnia.

CBT-I leads to long term benefits (unlike pharmacological interventions). CBT-I improves sleep and daytime functioning by 70 to 80 percent, improves mood, and reduces co-morbid concerns like depression.

Related: What to expect in a CBT-I session