What is Insomnia?

January 23, 2023 | 1 minute read
What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause sufferers to wake up too early and be unable to get back to sleep (1). Oftentimes individuals will still feel tired after waking up and experience a loss of energy. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, and you may be a long or short sleeper!  To learn more, read our interview with an expert sleep doctor on the Myth of 8 Hour Sleep.

Many adults experience short-term insomnia, lasting for days or weeks, often in response to stress. In chronic cases, insomnia is longer-term lasting for a month or more (2). The exact cause of insomnia is not known, but it can be caused by physical or mental health conditions, medication side effects, bad sleeping habits, lifestyle and environmental factors, and even stress. Symptoms are generally severe enough to impact an individual’s work, personal, and or family life. In addition to a lack of energy, insomnia can increase feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability. 

Lifestyle changes including good sleep habits and those targeted towards reducing stress can help with insomnia (3). Medicines can also be used to support a regular sleep schedule. 

To learn more about your sleep, visit our Projects page to explore ongoing research opportunities.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Insomnia – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Published October 15, 2016. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167
  2. Suni E. Insomnia. Sleep Foundation. Published September 4, 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia
  3. MedlinePlus. Insomnia. Medlineplus.gov. Published 2019. https://medlineplus.gov/insomnia.html