GC: n

S: URMC – (last access: 20 November 2018); NHS – (last access: 26 November 2018).

N: 1. “chronic inability to sleep,” 1620s, insomnie, from Latin insomnia “want of sleep, sleeplessness,” from insomnis “sleepless,” from in- “not” + somnus “sleep.

  • Adjective: insomnious (affected with insomnia : SLEEPLESS).
  • Adjective: insomniac (not sleeping or able to sleep).

2. Insomnia is a disorder that is actually made up of many disorders, all of which have in common two characteristics. First, the person is unable to either initiate or maintain sleep. Second, the problem is not due to a known medical or psychiatric disorder, nor is it a side effect of medication.It has been demonstrated that, by physiological criteria, self-described poor sleepers generally sleep much better than they imagine. Their sleep, however, does show signs of disturbance: frequent body movement, enhanced levels of autonomic functioning, reduced levels of REM sleep, and, in some, the intrusion of waking rhythms (alpha waves) throughout the various sleep stages. Although insomnia in a particular situation is common and without pathological import, chronic insomnia may be related to psychological disturbance. Insomnia conventionally is treated by administration of drugs but often with substances that are potentially addictive and otherwise dangerous when used over long periods. It has been demonstrated that treatments involving cognitive and behavioral programs (relaxation techniques, the temporary restriction of sleep time and its gradual reinstatement, etc.) are more effective in the long-term treatment of insomnia than are pharmacological interventions.
3. Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Acute insomnia is common. Common causes include stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. It usually lasts for days or weeks.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary. This means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem, such as certain medical conditions, medicines, and other sleep disorders. Substances such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can also be a cause.
Sometimes chronic insomnia is the primary problem. This means that it is not caused by something else. Its cause is not well understood, but long-lasting stress, emotional upset, travel and shift work can be factors. Primary insomnia usually lasts more than one month.
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the novel Insomnia (1994) by Stephen King and the thriller Insomnia (2002) directed by Christopher Nolan.

S: 1.OED – (last access: 21 November 2018); MW –; (last access: 26 November 2018). 2. EncBrit – (last access: 20 November 2018) 3. MEDLP (last access: 21 November 2018). 4. – (last access: 26 November 2018); IMDb – (last access: 26 November 2018).

SYN: insomnia disorder, agrypnia (obsolete).

S: TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 26 November 2018)

CR: disorder, narcolepsy, somnolence.