Insomnia is a common type of Sleep Disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or can result in walking up too early and not falling back asleep. Therefore, one may feel tired when awake, disrupting our regular day to day lifestyle. 

An average adult requires around seven to nine hours of sound sleep in a night.

There are two main types of insomnia: 

  1. Primary Insomnia – sleep issues are not linked to any other underlying condition
  2. Secondary Insomnia – underlying illness such as asthma, mental health disorders, addiction, cancer or certain medications can cause the insomnia 

Insomnia can also be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia is often experiences by most adults at some point in time. In this case, the insomnia can last for days or weeks. Common triggers can be stress or a traumatic event such as loss of a loved one, etc. 

Chronic insomnia lasts for three months or more and occurs three times or more per week. It may be the primary problem in itself or it may associated with other medical conditions and/or medications. 


What causes Insomnia? 

Some causes of insomnia can be: 

  • Stress 
  • Changes in sleep schedule due to jet lag, change in work schedules, new habits, etc. 
  • Genetics 
  • Improper sleep environment (such as noisy places, disturbing lights,.._)
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression 
  • Certain medications such as those for mental health issues, hypertension, colds and allergies, etc. 
  • Other sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea or Sleep Related Breathing Disorders 
  • Substance abuse or addictions (coffee, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, drugs)
  • Pregnancy and hormonal imbalances or changes such as those during PMS and menopause. 
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

What are the signs and symptoms of Insomnia? 

  • Difficulty falling asleep and/or waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Difficulty returning to sleep.
  • Feeling tired/fatigued during the daytime.
  • Irritability or depressed mood.
  • Problems with concentration or memory.
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

What are the risk factors with Insomnia? 

Sleep is critical to maintaining good health and having a good lifestyle. Sleep is the time during which are brains rests and repair themselves and can contribute to learning, memories, productiveness, etc. Some risk factors associated with Insomnia can be: 

  • High blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and stroke 
  • Diabetes 
  • Mood disorders and mental health issues 
  • Weight gain and obesity 
  • Driving accidents, injuries 

When should I visit a Sleep Specialist? 

Signs as symptoms such as the following can be a red alert: 

  • Extreme tiredness 
  • Inability to have proper sleep for more than three months 
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, irritability 
  • Memory and concentration difficulties 

In this case, visiting your health care provider can ascertain the cause of Insomnia and the measures that can be taken to treat insomnia and prevent further problems. 

How can Insomnia be treated? 

In cases of Acute Insomnia, no treatment may be required and you may be advised to regulate your daily routine and practice good Sleep Hygiene to get your sleep schedule back on track. 

For chronic insomnia, treatment of any underlying medical issues and medications resulting in insomnia have to be addressed. If insomnia is the primary cause, behavioural therapy may be suggested for you. Behavioural Therapy and especially Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia are mainstream for long term correction of insomnia.

Medications: Certain medication can help one to fall asleep in the night time. However, this is only a short term treatment option and may not be recommended for long term therapy. 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT-I)

It is a special kind of psychological therapy done by specially trained counsellors at our center. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia or CBT-I addresses the negative thoughts and actions that can result in having sleep issues. It is generally a recommended line of treatment and can be even more effective than prescription medications as it identifies and addresses the core reason for improper sleep. 

The aim of CBT-I is to help the patient learn how to recognize the deleterious thoughts and habits that are impairing their sleep. The next step would be to consciously retrain and eliminate negative beliefs and thoughts that can tend to keep you awake. 

Some strategies involved are: 

  1. Stimulus Control Therapy 
  2. Relaxation Techniques 
  3. Sleep Restrictions (avoiding spending time on the bed and day time naps)
  4. Remaining passively awake 
  5. Light Therapy
  6. Yoga nidra
  7. And many more…