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What is Insomnia?

Insomnia disorder is a common sleep disorder where you often have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep if you awaken. Those with insomnia typically feel tired and have low energy when they are awake, as a result of sleep deprivation. Sleep disturbance affects your body’s overall health. If insomnia or another sleep problem is making it hard to function in your daily life, contact a sleep specialist for treatment.

Insomnia affects 1 in 3 adults in the United States each year. Insomnia can be a short-term or long-term problem, depending on several factors. Many adults at some point will experience short-term, or acute, insomnia which can last several days to a few weeks. Acute insomnia is typically a symptom of a traumatic event or extreme stress. Chronic insomnia is insomnia that lasts more than a month. Persistent insomnia can have serious effects on your mental and physical health.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia can be a problem on its own known as primary insomnia, or it can be associated with other health conditions or secondary insomnia. Treating the underlying cause of insomnia may help you sleep better. Some common causes of insomnia include:

  • Being overweight
  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems
  • Medical problems such as sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Use of caffeine or other stimulants
  • Use of alcohol, other depressants, or sedatives
  • Medicines, such as those used to treat asthma
  • Pain and other discomfort caused by a medical condition
  • Shortness of breath caused by chronic obstructive
  • Poor sleep habits, including going to bed at different times or in a noisy environment
  • Changes in your sleep pattern because of different work hours or travel (jet lag).

Insomnia may be a temporary condition, called situational insomnia. Situational insomnia occurs with a stressful life event. It is often caused by noise, chronic pain, worry, or family, work, financial, or school problems. It lasts 3 weeks or less. Situational insomnia generally goes away when the stressful event is over or resolved.

Ongoing, or chronic insomnia, is a more long-term and persistent problem. Chronic insomnia can be caused by irregular sleep-wake patterns resulting from shift work, drug dependency (including long-term use of a sleeping pill or alcohol), stress, illness, or mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Long-term insomnia lasts longer than a month and requires treatment of the underlying problem.

Insomnia Symptoms

Insomnia symptoms may include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Waking up during the night
  • Difficulty going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling rested in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Restlessness or anxiety as bedtime approaches

How is insomnia diagnosed?

While there are no specific tests to diagnose insomnia, your doctor will ask you a series of questions to better understand your sleep problems and symptoms. Your health care provider will ask you about:

  • Your sleep patterns
  • Use of caffeine, alcohol, medicine, and other drugs
  • Eating and exercise habits
  • Your mental and physical condition
  • Your medical and mental health history, and your family’s history
  • Your job and travel patterns

After reviewing your sleep history with your doctor, they may also inquire about any medications you are taking that could affect your sleep. Your health care provider may also ask your spouse, bed partner, or other family members about your sleep habits. After talking with you, your health care provider may give you a physical exam. A blood sample may be taken for lab tests.

You may be asked to keep a sleep diary for a few weeks to help identify sleep patterns and behaviors. Your health care provider may ask you to take notes each morning about:

  • How long you were in bed
  • The time you actually slept
  • Times you woke up and why
  • When you woke up in the morning
  • Thoughts about the quality of your sleep
  • Any unusual occurrences

Your health care provider may suggest that you sleep overnight in a sleep center. At the sleep center, you may have a continuous, all-night recording of your breathing, eye movements, muscle tone, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and rhythm, and brain waves.

Treating Insomnia

When appropriate, your health care provider will prescribe treatment for underlying problems that are causing insomnia. For example, if you have depression, medicine used to treat depression should help insomnia. If drug or alcohol abuse is the cause of your insomnia, the treatment is to help you to stop using these substances. If you have chronic insomnia, it must be treated with the management of the underlying problem. Your doctor may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy to help you make lifestyle changes that will help with your insomnia.

Acute insomnia may not require treatment, as it only affects your sleep for a few days to a few weeks. In some cases of temporary insomnia, your health care provider may prescribe sleeping pills or medication to help you sleep until the stressful event is over or resolved. Some sleeping medicine can be addictive. Your health care provider will work with you to choose the right medicine for short-term or long-term use. Counseling may also help you deal with psychological problems or reduce the stress that may cause or contribute to your insomnia.

Your health care provider may recommend relaxation techniques, changes in diet, cutting out caffeine, and a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Your provider also will probably discuss good sleep habits and a regular sleep routine.

How long does insomnia last?

Oftentimes insomnia lasts for just a few nights. If you cannot sleep almost every night for 2 weeks, talk to your health care provider. Insomnia that lasts this long usually continues until the cause is identified and treated.

How can I help prevent insomnia?

Good sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, are crucial to your overall health. Here are some tips to help you sleep better:

  • Establish a sleep schedule
  • Avoid taking nap
  • Exercise regularly during the day. Avoid exercising in the evening.
  • Sleep in a dark room
  • Keep the bedroom at a cool temperature
  • Go to bed when you are drowsy and get up when you are wide awake
  • Avoid caffeine, other stimulants, cigarettes, and alcohol
  • Eat lightly at the evening meal and avoid snacks after supper
  • Learn to use relaxation exercises
  • Meditate for 20 minutes before you go to bed
  • Read something light or entertaining just before you go to bed
  • Consider having white noise in the background, such as a fan blowing.
  • Try not to focus on falling asleep
  • Try to reduce stress in your life by changing the things that cause stress
  • Keep a “to do” journal. Before you go to bed, write down all the things you are worrying about. Then write down what you can do tomorrow. Mark the other things as things to do later in the week. This will help clear your mind of worry.

Healthy sleep is important If you struggle with sleep over a long period of time, it’s time to consult a sleep specialist. Seeking a sleep medicine specialist could also be beneficial if you believe you are experiencing a sleep disorder like insomnia. If you are looking to get quality sleep and improve your overall health, call Gwinnett Sleep at 678-582-1929 to schedule an appointment today.



Does COVID Cause Insomnia?

People continue to have COVID-19 on their minds. Whether you’ve experienced COVID or not, this virus and its mutations remain a worldwide health epidemic. COVID patients in the hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and many still die daily. And with all the discussion and anxiety around the virus, it’s no wonder many people report various other symptoms, such as insomnia.

But does COVID actually cause insomnia? The answer is…sort of. While there’s no concrete evidence that COVID causes insomnia, a few factors could contribute. Here’s what you need to know about how COVID can affect your sleep.

Symptoms of COVID that affect sleep

People have coined the term related to insomnia brought on by the coronavirus as “coronasomnia.” This word hints at the serious lack of sleep people are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A question to ask yourself is, did the chicken come before the egg or the other way around? Insomnia may be a symptom of COVID, or COVID symptoms may cause insomnia.

There are numerous nagging symptoms of COVID, some mild and many severe, that keep people awake each night. If you’ve had the virus in the past or currently have it, then you know the pain and discomfort it can cause. Trying to sleep while feeling incredibly sick is difficult, to say the least.

Common symptoms of the coronavirus that can ultimately affect sleep include, but are not limited to:

Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting

And once some people have recovered, the lingering anxiety and stress from the possibility of catching COVID again can keep minds wandering and awake, leaving them drained in the morning.

What experts say about COVID and insomnia

COVID and insomnia continue to be a topic of discussion, even after three years of dealing with the virus. According to a study on the topic, “as many as 40% of people report having difficulties sleeping during the pandemic, and it is estimated that around 36% of people had symptoms of insomnia during the first wave of COVID-19. Sleep problems are also emerging as a long-term issue as up to 31% of people with long COVID experience disrupted sleep.”

These statistics are significant and show the large number of people whose sleep is affected by the pandemic.

A report from the National Institutes of Health discusses a study from early on during the pandemic that “revealed very high rates of clinically significant insomnia” along with more mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and overall stress.

It is essential to know that doctors, researchers, and sleep experts agree that the COVID virus does not cause insomnia. The symptoms of the virus, along with stress around the pandemic, are causing the lack of sleep.

Suppose you struggle with insomnia during the pandemic. In that case, you can utilize stress-reducing coping skills such as meditation, deep breathing, a warm bath before bed, or reading a book.

And if necessary, seek treatment with a sleep specialist to see how you can better manage your insomnia symptoms.


The COVID pandemic has brought on a range of physical and mental health symptoms that can make it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Gwinnett Sleep is here to help you develop a personalized plan to get your insomnia under control. Give us a call today to help you get the restful sleep you need during these challenging times.


How to Cure Insomnia?

It’s no secret that getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for overall physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, insomnia, a common sleep disorder, is a real struggle for millions across America. Oftentimes, there are underlying conditions that cause poor-quality sleep, and sometimes anxiety, stress, and inappropriate nighttime habits are to blame. Regardless, insomnia isn’t something to take lightly. The symptoms can be debilitating for many individuals, leaving them unable to live full lives. Due to the severity of insomnia, people are always searching for a cure. If you’re one of the many people looking for ways to cure your insomnia, you may wonder if it’s even possible.

Explore some of the most common methods used to treat insomnia.

What is insomnia

Did you know that insomnia impacts over 30% of people? That’s a lot of people lying awake at night, frustrated and desperate to get some sleep. Most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep while experiencing four to six sleep cycles per night to stay physically and mentally healthy over time. When an individual gets poor-quality or insufficient sleep on a regular basis, they may have an official sleep disorder.

Typical symptoms of insomnia include:

Difficulty falling asleep at night
Waking up during the night
Waking up too early
Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
Irritability, depression, or anxiety
Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering
Increased errors or accidents
Ongoing worries about sleep

People don’t have to experience all of these symptoms to have insomnia. When seeking treatment, a sleep specialist will help you understand why you have insomnia. There are various factors and underlying conditions that come into play here. This is important when coming up with a treatment plan.

Causes of insomnia symptoms

Insomnia is a complex sleep disorder. Take ten people with the same sleep difficulties and each of one may have unique reasons as to why they’re experiencing them. Causes of insomnia can vary from serious health conditions to poor lifestyle choices.

According to the Sleep Foundation, common causes of insomnia symptoms include, but are not limited to:

Mental health
Irregular sleep schedule
Physical pain
Neurological disorders
Chronic health issues
Other sleep disorders

For example, it is found that 40% of people with insomnia are believed to also be affected by a mental health disorder.

When determining the underlying cause of your insomnia, think about the “whole person,” both physically and mentally.

Insomnia treatment options

Since everyone has different body chemistries and brain functioning, there is no single overall “cure” for insomnia. However, there are multiple things people can do to increase their chance of a good night’s sleep. Getting started with a sleep specialist is the first step.

Available chronic insomnia treatments can include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), sleep hygiene education, lifestyle changes, sleep restriction, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, stimulus control, light therapy, medication therapy, and the use of a CPAP machine.

A sleep specialist can help diagnose and determine treatment depending on factors and causes. Each individual’s treatment path is unique and tailored to their body, mind, and lifestyle.


If you’re one of the millions of people in America that have insomnia, know that you’re not alone. Not getting enough sleep regularly can negatively affect your physical and mental health, so it’s essential to do what you can to increase your chances of getting shut-eye. There are things you can do to make it easier for yourself to fall asleep. However, if you’ve tried everything and still can’t get a good night’s rest, contact Gwinnett Sleep – we specialize in helping people with insomnia get back to sleep.