Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. It occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even though you had the opportunity to get a full night of sleep. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning

Insomnia involves both a sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms. The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life.

Everyone has the occasional night of poor sleep. In many cases this is due to staying up too late or waking up too early. This does not mean you have insomnia, it means you didn’t get enough sleep.

As many as 30 to 35 percent of adults complain of insomnia. It is more common in groups such as older adults, women, people under stress and people with certain medical and mental health problems such as depression 

There are two types of insomnia based on the regularity and duration of the sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms:

  • Short-term insomnia: This type of brief insomnia lasts for up to three months. It occurs in 15 to 20 percent of people.
  • Chronic insomnia: This type of insomnia occurs at least three times per week and lasts for at least three months. About 10 percent of people have chronic insomnia.

Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms and causes of insomnia are different for every patient. Insomnia symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Problems with attention, concentration or memory (cognitive impairment)
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Impulsiveness or aggression
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Errors or accidents
  • Concern or frustration about your sleep

Insomnia is most often associated with another problem. Insomnia that is not caused or worsened by other factors is rare. These factors may include:

Medical conditions

Many physical illnesses can cause insomnia. People who experience pain, discomfort or limited mobility from medical problems may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia due to medical conditions is most common in older adults because people tend to have more chronic health problems as they age. Conditions such as pregnancy, particularly the third trimester, and menopause can cause sleep problems. The severity and duration of insomnia often varies with the related health condition.

Mental disorders

The relationship between sleep and mental health is complex. Insomnia is sometimes caused by a mental health disorder. Often a mental health disorder will be found after a complaint of insomnia. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States and a frequent cause of insomnia. People with depression often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Difficulty falling asleep is also common in people with anxiety disorders. Other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder may also cause sleep problems.


This varies from relatively minor things like work or personal stress, to more severe changes such as death, divorce or job loss.

Other sleep disorders

Some sleep disorders can cause insomnia or make it worse. For instance, people with restless legs syndrome may have a hard time falling asleep.

Medication or substance use or abuse

Insomnia can be an unwanted side effect of many prescription or over-the-counter medications. Common cold and allergy medicines contain pseudoephedrine and can make it difficult to fall asleep. Antidepressants and medications to treat ADHD, high blood pressure or Parkinson’s disease can also cause insomnia.

Drinking alcohol before bedtime can cause frequent awakenings during the night. Insomnia also can occur if you suddenly stop using a sleeping pill.

Caffeine and other stimulants can prevent you from falling asleep. Stimulants also cause frequent awakenings during the night.

Some people are sensitive to certain foods and may be allergic to them. This can result in insomnia and disrupted sleep.

Environmental factors

The environment where you sleep can cause insomnia. Disruptive factors such as noise, light or extreme temperatures can interfere with sleep. Sleeping with a bed partner who snores also can cause sleep disruption. Extended exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals may prevent you from being able to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Habits or lifestyles

Irregular sleep schedules  can cause insomnia in workers who try to sleep during the day.

Diagnosis & Self-Tests

If you think you may have insomnia, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, or do you wake up during the night and have trouble returning to sleep, or do you wake up earlier than desired?
  • Do you have daytime symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, sleepiness or reduced energy?
  • Do you give yourself enough time in bed to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night?
  • Do you go to bed in a safe, dark and quiet environment that should allow you to sleep well?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you may have insomnia.

If you’ve had insomnia for at least three months (chronic insomnia), You should go to Visit your Doctor. If you have had insomnia for fewer than three months, you may have short-term insomnia. Try to follow good sleep hygiene, and if the problem does not go away in three months, talk to a sleep physician.

Natural Remedies & Knowledge

Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium and Magnesium are both sleep boosters, and when taken together, they become even more effective. Plus, by taking magnesium, you cancel out any potential heart problems that might arise from taking calcium alone.

Quality Food Sources of Calcium

Food Calcium in milligrams Serving Size % of Daily Value
Almonds 75 1 oz (24 nuts) 8%
Cabbage, Chinese (cooked) 158 1 cup 16%
Cheese (firm, such as cheddar, mozzarella, provolone or swiss) ~200 1 ounce 20%
Cheese (hard such as parmesan or pecorino) ~331 1 ounce 33%
Collard Greens (cooked) 268 1 cup 27%
Cottage Cheese (2% milkfat) 206 1 cup 21%
Figs, dried 124 4 figs 12%
Kale (cooked) 179 1 cup 10%
Milk (whole) 276 1 cup 28%
Mustard Greens (cooked) 165 1 cup 17%
Salmon (canned) 181 3 ounces 18%
Salmon (canned with bones) 212 3 ounces 21%
Sardines (with bones) 325 3 ounces 33%
Sesame Seeds 351 ¼ cup 35%
Sesame Seed Butter (tahini) 128 2 tbsp 13%
Spinach (cooked) 245 1 cup 24%
Spices (cinnamon, cumin, basil, oregano, parsley, black pepper) 26-52 2 tsp 2.5% – 5%
Swiss Chard (cooked) 101 1 cup 10%
Yogurt (plain, full-fat) 296 1 cup 30%

Quality Food Sources of Magnesium

Food Magnesium in milligrams Serving Size % of Daily Value
Almonds 100 ¼ cup 25%
Artichoke 77 medium artichoke 19%
Avocado 58 one fruit 15%
Brazil Nuts 125 ¼ cup 31%
Cashews 117 ¼ cup 29%
Dark Chocolate 95 1 ounce 24%
Fish (mackerel, halibut, cod) 100 4 ounces 25%
Flax Seeds 55 2 tbsp 14%
Molasses 48 1 tbsp 12%
Papaya 58 medium papaya 15%
Potato (with skin) 52 medium potato 13%
Pumpkin Seeds 191 ¼ cup 48%
Sesame Seeds 126 ¼ cup 32%
Spinach (cooked) 157 1 cup 39%
Sunflower Seeds 157 ¼ cup 39%
Swiss Chard 151 1 cup 38%
Tuna 48 4 ounces 12%

Wild lettuce

If you’ve suffered anxiety, headaches, or muscle or joint pain, you might already be familiar with wild lettuce. It’s also effective at calming restlessness and reducing anxiety.


Beer fans will no doubt be familiar with the calming effect of hops, the female flowers used in beer making. For sleep purposes, though, this extract has been widely used as a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia.


Lavender is the trick here, as studies have proven that it aids in sleep. It’s also a cheap, nontoxic way to slip into a peaceful slumber. Find a spray with real lavender and spritz it on your pillow before bedtime. Or buy a lavender-filled pillow.


Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep, so it’s no wonder that it naturally induces sleep. Although some experts recommend taking higher doses, studies show that lower doses are more effective. Plus, there’s concern that too-high doses could cause toxicity as well as raise the risk of depression or infertility.

Yoga or Meditation

Choose gentle yoga or stretching, not vigorous power or ashtanga yoga, which could energize you instead. Try easy yoga stretches in bed followed by simple meditation. Close your eyes and, for 5 to 10 minutes, pay attention to nothing but your breathing.


This amino acid comes from green tea and not only helps maintain a calm alertness during the day but also a deeper sleep at night. However, green tea doesn’t contain enough L-theanine to significantly boost your REM cycles.


Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. However, it’s most effective when used over a longer period of time. One caveat? About 10% of the people who use it actually feel energized, which may keep them awake. If that happens to you, take valerian during the day. Otherwise, take 200 to 800 milligrams before bed.

Relax and let go everything else… Health is Wealth 



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