Insomnia is really quite common in America and a good portion of people have to deal with it at one time or another. However, most people attempt to deal with insomnia on their own and never consult a physician about it. As a matter of fact, during routine physicals and doctor visits, most doctors never even ask about a patients sleep pattern at all. Because there is some very effective sleep medication available by prescription that can be used for up to six months without any addictive properties, insomnia no longer has to be a treacherous path to walk down.
There are certain risk factors that put a person at higher risk for insomnia that might and should be addresses. Some insomnia risk factors include aging or the elderly, conflict in one's life, being overworked, illness in the family, ranking low in social status, or a psychiatric or psychological problem. Of course those who will be at a greater risk of developing insomnia would typically be a female over the age of 60, with a history of stress, anxiety, or depression, maybe a combination of all, and one who may have an underlying medical condition. It has been a myth that as people get older, they require less sleep. That myth has never been validated and remains untrue today. Keep in mind that these risk factors do not mean that a person will develop insomnia but that they may be at a greater risk.
Negative thinking is also associated with insomnia or when something is really weighing heavily on ones mind. This can have a negative impact and because the mind is preoccupied with these thoughts, it can trigger a bout of insomnia. Sometimes people have an onset of insomnia that is very temporary while in others, it could linger for months. Depression is the number one factor associated with depression and almost all people who have been diagnosed with this condition have insomnia. Therefore, it is likely that if the depression can be dealt with, the insomnia may subside as well.
A lack of proper sleep can also weaken ones immune system which can cause them to be susceptible to all kinds of illness including colds, viruses, and the flu. Studies have shown that insomnia is much higher in women than it is in men. It is believed that the cause for this is that with women there are usually some time of hormonal fluctuation that could be the cause such as premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Further, anxiety is much more prevalent in women than it is in men, therefore which could be another reason that insomnia is higher in women than it is in men.
There has also been a relationship between childhood sleep patterns and adult insomnia. Childhood sleep disorders would include nightmares, sleep walking, difficulty falling asleep, or restless leg syndrome. Children who experience these disorders do have a higher risk of developing insomnia later into adulthood. Another factor that can produce a great risk is ADHD in a child that spills over into adulthood.