Insomnia Overview

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by the difficulty of falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia have symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having difficulty going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and feeling too tired when waking up.

Primary and Secondary Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia, primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when a person is having trouble sleeping and no health problems are causing the lack of sleep. Secondary insomnia is when other problems are the cause of sleep difficulties such as health conditions, pain, medication or any sort of substance such as alcohol.

Acute vs. Chronic Insomnia

Insomnia is also known to vary in length and occurrence. It can be short-term (acute insomnia) or long-term (chronic insomnia). It is also known to come and go, with some periods of no sleep difficulty.


There are many causes of both acute and chronic insomnia. Causes of acute insomnia include life stress, illness, emotional or physical discomfort, environmental factors, medication and interference in a normal sleep schedule. Chronic insomnia can be caused by depression and/or anxiety, chronic stress, and pain or discomfort during the night.

Insomnia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of insomnia include sleeping during the day, general tiredness, irritability, problems with concentration, and memory loss. 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you have insomnia. An evaluation may include a physical exam, medical history, and a sleep history. It’s important to know that insomnia is a disorder rather than an illness. Some health conditions may cause acute insomnia such as cold, flu or allergies. You may be asked to keep a sleep diary for a couple weeks. 

At Integrated Neurology Services, we provide extensive treatment options to help patients with insomnia get the care they need and deserve. If you are in the Northern Virginia area, call us today to schedule an appointment. Help is only a phone call or a click away.