Insomnia Overview

Insomnia is a difficulty with sleep, either in falling asleep or in staying asleep. Difficulty with sleeping can occur for a variety of reasons. There is often a very simple explanation such as a change in lifestyle, work changes, or an emotional or personal issue. Various substances also interfere with sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, prescription drugs, sleeping pills, and other drugs. Other symptoms can also prevent sleep, such as pain or itching. Aging also causes a reduction in the need for sleep, but the elderly can also have other sleep problems. It is also possible for the cause to be a serious sleep disorder (e.g. obstructive sleep apnea), or other disease causing sleep-related symptoms.

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