Primary insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, or experiencing non refreshing sleep for at least 1 month. The term primary indicates that the insomnia is not caused by any known physical or mental condition.
There are numerous causes and risk factors. Primary insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Everyday anxiety and stress, coffee, and alcohol are the most common culprits.
About 25% of elderly people and about 15% of the general population suffer from insomnia, but this includes all types of insomnia. Secondary insomnia may be caused by depression or other mental and physical illnesses.
It is important to remember that one’s health is not at risk if one does not get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day and that different people have different natural sleep requirements.
Some do fine on 4 hours a night, while others only thrive if they get 10-11 hours. Sleep requirements also change with age. Listen to your body’s sleep signals and don’t try to sleep more or less than is refreshing for you.
Daytime sleepiness is the most common complication, though there is some evidence that lack of sleep can also lower your immune system’s ability to fight infections. Sleep deprivation is also a common cause of auto accidents — if you are driving and feel sleepy, take a break.