Sleep onset insomnia is a type of sleep disorder where a person has difficulty initiating or falling asleep and may experience sleep quality issues as a result.
Healthcare professionals may use the term sleep onset insomnia to describe when someone experiences a significant delay in falling asleep. Similarly, they may use the term sleep maintenance insomnia to describe when a person experiences difficulty staying asleep. An individual with insomnia
People with insomnia may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- waking up too early
- feeling excessively sleepy or tired throughout the day
- feeling irritable, anxious, or depressed
- difficulty concentrating throughout the day
- not feeling refreshed or rested upon waking
Sleep quality issues
This article discusses the potential causes of sleep onset insomnia, treatment options, and when to consult a doctor.
Several causes may contribute to sleep onset insomnia, including older age and certain lifestyle factors.
Experts suggest that experiencing stress and anxiety about work, school, money, relationships, and other factors
The risk of developing insomnia
Some researchers suggest that older adults
- changes in the sleep cycle, for example, if a person retires from work
- changes to the sleep environment, for example, if someone moves to a retirement community or care home
- age-related circadian rhythm change and the presence of other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- taking certain medications or living with certain diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension
Lifestyle factors, such as not exercising enough during the day or using electronic devices too close to bedtime,
- deviating from their usual routine often, including sleep schedules
- experiencing interruptions to sleep, such as waking up often to care for a baby
- using caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or recreational drugs
- taking long naps
Certain life events may lead to significant sleep disturbances and increased stress and anxiety levels. These
- a death of a loved one
- a divorce
- job loss
- financial stress
Psychiatric and psychological conditions
Research indicates that insomnia and certain psychiatric and psychological conditions
Many medications may cause insomnia as a side effect. Some research suggests that using these medications
A person should speak with a doctor about potential side effects before using any medications and if they notice insomnia symptoms after starting a new medication.
Treatment options for insomnia may vary between people. A healthcare professional can recommend treatments on an individual basis. Treatment
- sleep-inducing medications, such as:
- benzodiazepine receptor agonists
- orexin receptor antagonists
- melatonin receptor agonists
- cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which involves:
- cognitive therapy
- stimulus control therapy
- sleep restriction therapy
- sleep education
- relaxation or meditation therapy
- making lifestyle changes, such as:
- going to bed and getting up around the same time every day, including weekends
- managing stress
- limiting naps
- getting regular physical activity during the daytime
- limiting consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- eating meals at the same time every day
- social functioning
If someone has trouble falling or staying asleep, feels tired during the day, and finds that insomnia symptoms interfere with their daily life, they should consider speaking with a medical professional.
Sleep onset insomnia is a subtype of insomnia, which is when a person has difficulty falling asleep. Insomnia may affect someone’s mental and physical health, so they should speak with a healthcare professional if they consistently have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Several treatment options for people with insomnia are available. These include medications, CBT-I, and making lifestyle changes. A healthcare professional can help identify which treatments may work best individually.