Insomnia, also known as trouble sleeping, is a sleep disorder in which there is trouble to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. While the term is sometimes used to describe a disorder as diagnosed by polysomnographic or actigraphic evidence, this is often practically defined as a positive response to either of two questions: “do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?”

Insomnia is most often thought of as both a medical sign and a symptom that can accompany several sleep, medical, and psychiatric disorders characterized by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep or sleep of poor quality. Insomnia is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomnia can occur at any age, but it is particularly common in the elderly. Insomnia can be short term (up to three weeks) or long term (above 3–4 weeks); it can lead to memory problems,depression, irritability and an increased risk of heart disease and automobile related accidents.

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