Enjoying a full night of restful sleep supports optimal function and wellness. As much as an occasional sleepless night leaves one out-of-sorts for a day or two, dealing with either an acute bout or chronic insomnia has more profound and long-term effects on overall health and well-being.

Acute vs. Chronic Insomnia

According to statistics, approximately one in three adults has insomnia. Characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep with relative ease, insomnia can develop as an acute or chronic condition. It all depends upon how long the episodes last.

Acute bouts of insomnia are typically associated with stressful situations, resolving on their own as circumstances improve. On the other hand, chronic insomnia involves three or more sleepless nights per week for at least three months. While several lifestyle issues, stress, clinical disorders, and medications can contribute to the development of chronic insomnia, in some instances, chronic insomnia is co-morbid with other mental health issues.

What are the signs and symptoms of insomnia?

Whether acute or chronic, insomnia produces a myriad of daytime symptoms, including extreme fatigue, sleepiness, and trouble concentrating. Besides making one feel awful, these symptoms can also dangerously impair function.

If frequent or chronic insomnia is left untreated, it can impact overall health in multiple ways. Insomnia puts one at risk for a host of physical and psychological problems, including depressive or anxiety disorders, chronic pain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Getting help for insomnia

When dealing with insomnia that’s unresolved, it’s essential to get professional care. Reestablishing a normal sleep schedule helps to protect one’s overall health and well-being. The management and treatment of insomnia depends upon the history of the condition and specific needs of each case. Effective care may include behavioral and psychological counseling, medications, or a combination of treatments.

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