What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder. It is characterized by poor sleep or difficulty in sleeping. It can involve:

  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Difficulty staying asleep (waking up several times during the night).
  • Waking up too early in the morning.
  • Waking up without feeling rested or refreshed.

Most people need around seven to eight hours of sleep every day. Your sleeping patterns may change as you grow older.

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia can be the result of a number of things such as:

  • Stress.
  • Psychiatric problems (example: depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol use).
  • Medical problems.
  • Lifestyle habits:
  • a. Too much caffeine.
  • b. Changes in work shift.
  • c. Smoking.
  • d. Frequent travelling and crossing time zones.

Who is affected by insomnia?

  • Anyone can be affected by insomnia.
  • It is usually more common among females than males.
  • It is more common among individuals 65 years and older.
  • It can also affect individuals who have medical conditions and are on multiple medications.

How do I know if I have insomnia?

  • You have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • You wake up earlier than usual.
  • You feel tired during the day.
  • You are falling asleep or feeling sleepy during the day.
  • You are concerned about sleep.

These difficulties happen even if you had adequate opportunities for sleep and they persist for more than three months.

How is insomnia diagnosed?

Depending on your situation, the diagnosis of insomnia and the search for its cause may include:

  • Physical exam: If the cause of insomnia is unknown, your doctor may do a physical exam to look for signs of medical problems that may be related to insomnia. Occasionally, a blood test may be done to check for thyroid problems or other conditions that may be associated with poor sleep.
  • Sleep habits review: In addition to asking you sleep-related questions, your doctor may have you complete a questionnaire to determine your sleep-wake pattern and your level of daytime sleepiness. You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks.
  • Sleep study: If the cause of your insomnia isn't clear, or you have signs of another sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, you may need to spend a night at a sleep center. Tests are done to monitor and record a variety of body activities while you sleep, including brain waves, breathing, heartbeat, eye movements and body movements.

When does insomnia become a problem?

Insomnia becomes a problem when:

  • It affects your social and work life.
  • It makes you feel depressed or irritated during the day.
  • It affects your concentration and attention.

Keep in mind that if insomnia is not properly treated, it can affect your quality of life and cause serious problems such as:

  • Depression/anxiety.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Heart disease.
  • Decreased productivity at work and absenteeism.

Can insomnia be treated?


1. Improve your sleeping habits.

  • Go to bed, and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Develop a bedtime ritual (e.g. reading before going to bed).
  • Do not eat, watch TV, or read while in bed.
  • Sleep in a quiet and dark room.
  • Do not drink caffeine, or smoke a few hours before bedtime.
  • Do not exercise a few hours before bedtime.
  • Do not eat a heavy meal before bedtime.
  • Do not take naps for more than 20-30 minutes per day (if you have to nap, do so around noon time/early afternoon).

Reduce your stress. Techniques for stress reduction include:

  • Listening to music.
  • Taking warm baths.
  • Meditating.

Take sleeping pills only if prescribed by your doctor.

  • Do not take sleeping pills on your own as they might make your sleeping problem worse.
  • Your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for only a limited number of nights due to their addictive potential.

Does my Insurance Policy cover the treatment of insomnia?

No. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia doesn’t cover the treatment of insomnia.

Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.


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"Insomnia" Rules. N.p., n.d. Web. Aug. 2016.