What Is Chronic Insomnia and How Is It Treated?

What Is Chronic Insomnia and How Is It Treated?

One of the most common sleep disorders people suffer from is insomnia. The disorder is characterized by having trouble falling or/and staying asleep. However, the disorder can be either acute or chronic. Acute insomnia may last for days or weeks and it commonly happens as a result of stress, and lifestyle changes, whereas chronic insomnia, occurs at least three nights a week for three months or more.

So, to help you understand the condition and how it is treated, we’ve decided to come up with the following in-depth guide on chronic insomnia. Just continue reading to learn more.

Chronic Insomnia Symptoms

Chronic insomnia does not only affect your sleep, i.e., doesn’t cause symptoms at night only, but it can also seriously interfere with the quality of your life. Precisely speaking, insomnia symptoms may include:

  • Difficulties falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Trouble falling back to sleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Feeling tired upon waking up
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Concentration issues
  • Memory problems
  • Frequent errors and accidents

Chronic Insomnia Causes

Moving on to the causes of the disorder, we must understand that it can be caused by an underlying medical condition, medications, and stimulants, as well as some lifestyle habits. Let’s see them in detail.

Medical Conditions

  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Acid reflux
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bipolar disorder

Medications and Stimulants

  • Antidepressants
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Certain allergy medications
  • Stimulant laxatives
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine

Lifestyle Habits

  • Doing shift work
  • Physical inactivity
  • Daytime napping
  • Poor sleeping hygiene
  • Jet lag

Chronic Insomnia Treatment

At last, let’s have a look at the possible treatment options for chronic insomnia. Luckily, there are numerous options you could try, from professional medical treatments to lifestyle changes.

In general, the treatment depends on the cause of the disorder so may therefore include medication or therapy addressing the underlying health condition. Also, it is possible that you have to combine different treatment options to treat your chronic insomnia successfully.

Hence, let’s see what chronic insomnia treatment options may include.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

According to research, CBT has proven to be quite beneficial and even as effective as sleep medications when it comes to treating chronic insomnia. But what does the therapy involve? Namely, it is all about learning better sleep habits while changing specific beliefs and behaviors that damage your sleep. Furthermore, CBT for treating chronic insomnia may include different strategies focusing on the disorder including:

  • Cognitive techniques
  • Stimulus control
  • Sleep restriction
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Paradoxical intention


Numerous prescription medications can help you relieve chronic insomnia symptoms like zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and doxepin (Silenor), ramelteon (Rozerem), etc. Additionally, other over-the-counter sleep aids may also provide relief, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylamine succinate (Unisom SleepTabs), melatonin, and valerian root, etc., but ensure you consult your doctor before taking such sleep aids.

Lifestyle Habits

Finally, you can prevent and even treat insomnia by implementing specific healthy lifestyle habits, i.e. changes in patterns of behavior that may help in falling and staying asleep. Let’s see what you could do:

  • Limit caffeine intake to early evening
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes close to bedtime
  • Stop drinking alcohol before bed
  • Practice regular exercise
  • Avoid daytime napping
  • Have small and light dinners
  • Follow a strict sleep schedule
  • Limit screentime before bed
  • Improve your sleep environment

By following the above-listed tips you can ensure that your sleep hygiene is healthy and finally get the good night’s sleep you’ve been looking for.