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It can cause daytime fatigue, memory and concentration trouble, as well as poor work performance.

PatientEd-Insomnia200Insomnia is the term used to describe trouble either falling or staying asleep.  Approximately 33 percent of all adults suffer from this disorder at some time in their lives.  Daytime fatigue, memory and concentration trouble as well as poor work performance can result.  Transient insomnia lasts less than four weeks and is usually triggered by a stress or illness.  Short-term insomnia lasts between 4 weeks and 6 months and usually resolves after the ongoing life stressor resolves or diminishes.  Chronic insomnia lasting more than 6 months affects more than 20 million Americans. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause frequent night time awakenings and contribute to insomnia. 

First and foremost, the proper treatment of insomnia requires avoidance of all stimulants and depressants, including caffeine, alcohol, over-the-counter cold medications and sleeping pills.  Good sleep hygiene with nap avoidance and noise and light reduction are also quite helpful.  Periodic leg movement disorder can often masquerade as insomnia.  Treating the underlying movement disorder is often curative for the problem.  Psychiatric problems responsible for many cases of insomnia are best dealt with by a psychiatrist/psychologist through multimodality therapy including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.  Physical conditions contributing to sleeping difficulties should be managed and treated.