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What is insomnia?

1 doctor weighed in

In brief: Insomnia is a feeling of not being able to get enough sleep

Insomnia is a feeling of not being able to get enough sleep.
This is related to finding it hard to get to sleep, waking up without having had enough sleep, or having unrefreshing sleep. People differ in their need for sleep, and everyone has the occasional night of disturbed sleep. Almost a quarter of the population frequently experience sleeping difficulties, and it becomes more common with age.


The exact function of sleep is not fully understood, but the effects of lack of sleep suggest that its main function is to "re-charge" the body's batteries. There are also psychological benefits. One phase of sleep (called the rapid eye movement or REM phase because the sleeper's eyes can be seen to move rapidly behind the lids) is thought to be the time when dreams occur. People who don’t sleep for long enough or who sleep very lightly, become deprived of REM sleep. They can become irritable and anxious and, in extreme sleep deprivation may even have hallucinations. The irritability that results from their insomnia has an effect on partners, families and work colleagues. Statistical studies indicate that people suffering from insomnia had a higher than average chance of dying from cancer, heart disease or stroke.

In brief: Insomnia is a feeling of not being able to get enough sleep

Insomnia is a feeling of not being able to get enough sleep.
This is related to finding it hard to get to sleep, waking up without having had enough sleep, or having unrefreshing sleep. People differ in their need for sleep, and everyone has the occasional night of disturbed sleep. Almost a quarter of the population frequently experience sleeping difficulties, and it becomes more common with age.


The exact function of sleep is not fully understood, but the effects of lack of sleep suggest that its main function is to "re-charge" the body's batteries. There are also psychological benefits. One phase of sleep (called the rapid eye movement or REM phase because the sleeper's eyes can be seen to move rapidly behind the lids) is thought to be the time when dreams occur. People who don’t sleep for long enough or who sleep very lightly, become deprived of REM sleep. They can become irritable and anxious and, in extreme sleep deprivation may even have hallucinations. The irritability that results from their insomnia has an effect on partners, families and work colleagues. Statistical studies indicate that people suffering from insomnia had a higher than average chance of dying from cancer, heart disease or stroke.
Quality HealthCare Team
Quality HealthCare Team
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