Insomnia Home > Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia, or long-term insomnia, is defined as a person having difficulty sleeping at least three nights a week for one month or longer. One of the most common causes of this condition is depression. Treatment options typically include treating the underlying problem, medication, and certain behavioral techniques.

What Is Chronic Insomnia?

It is not unusual to have trouble sleeping from time to time. But if you feel that you do not get enough sleep or enough satisfying sleep, you may have a sleep disorder called insomnia. People with this condition have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Feeling unrefreshed upon waking.
One type of insomnia is called chronic insomnia. Chronic (long-term) insomnia is diagnosed when a person has related symptoms at least three nights a week for one month or longer.

Effects of Chronic Insomnia

Symptoms of chronic insomnia can result in problems during the day, including:
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability.

What Causes It?

One of the most common causes of this condition is depression. Other medical conditions than can cause chronic insomnia include:
The disorder may also be due to behavioral factors, including:
  • Experiencing chronic stress
  • Expecting to have difficulty sleeping and worrying about it
  • Ingesting excessive amounts of caffeine
  • Drinking alcohol before bedtime
  • Smoking cigarettes before bedtime
  • Excessive napping in the afternoon or evening
  • Irregular or continually disrupted sleep/wake schedules, which may occur with shift work.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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