Insomnia and sleeplessness

Understand why insomnia occurs

Understanding insomnia and sleeplessness

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both, leading to impaired daytime functioning. It affects millions worldwide, impacting their health, mood, productivity, and quality of life.

Psychological factors

Stress, anxiety, and depression are significant psychological triggers for insomnia. Stressful life events or changes, such as job loss, the death of a loved one, or moving, can lead to sleeplessness. Anxiety about sleep itself, often referred to as sleep-related anxiety, can also perpetuate insomnia.

Lifestyle factors

Various lifestyle choices and habits can contribute to insomnia. This includes irregular sleep schedules, engaging in stimulating activities before bedtime (like using electronic devices or exercising), consuming caffeine or alcohol, and erratic eating patterns. Environmental factors, such as a noisy or uncomfortable sleeping environment, can also disrupt sleep.

Medical conditions

Numerous medical issues can lead to insomnia. These include chronic pain, asthma, allergies, neurological conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and endocrine problems like hyperthyroidism. Certain medications used to treat these and other conditions can also interfere with sleep.

Managing and treating insomnia

Treatment for insomnia typically involves a combination of medical and behavioral strategies- while medication not being the first choice due to potential side effects and dependence issues.

The specific approach often depends on the underlying causes and the individual characteristics of the patient.

Here are some common elements of insomnia treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I):

  • CBT-I is considered the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. It addresses the thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote bad sleep.

  • Techniques include stimulus control (associating the bed and bedroom with sleep), sleep restriction therapy (limiting the time spent in bed), relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene education, and cognitive therapy to address sleep-related misconceptions.


  • While not always the first choice due to potential side effects and dependence issues, medications can be helpful, especially for short-term relief.

  • Commonly prescribed medications include benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine sleep aids (like zolpidem), and antidepressants in some cases.

  • Over-the-counter options like antihistamines can also be used, but they may have side effects like daytime drowsiness.

Lifestyle Modifications and Sleep Hygiene:

  • Improving sleep environment: Making the bedroom comfortable for sleep, reducing noise and light, and maintaining a comfortable temperature.

  • Diet and exercise: Avoiding caffeine and heavy meals before bedtime and engaging in regular physical activity.

  • Regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Relaxation Techniques:

  • Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback can reduce stress and promote sleep.

Alternative Therapies:

  • Some people find relief with alternative treatments like acupuncture, herbal supplements (like melatonin or valerian root), or aromatherapy. However, the effectiveness and safety of these methods can vary, and they should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Addressing Underlying Medical or Psychological Conditions:

  • Treating any underlying conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, or other medical conditions that may contribute to insomnia.

Follow-up and Monitoring:

  • Regular follow-up with a healthcare provider is important to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

The right tool for better sleep

It's important to note that treatment for insomnia is often personalized and may require some trial and error to find the most effective approach.

This is here where Hvil® can help tailor a personalized progam that addresses the specific causes and manifestations of insomnia in each individual.