YEAR 10 PSYCHOLOGY
SLEEP AND DREAMING
By Rohan Hulonce
Definition of Insomnia – ‘’Insomnia is a condition that occurs when a person is unable to
get long enough of refreshing enough sleep at night. An inability to fall asleep, and
inability to stay asleep, or waking to early before having gotten enough sleep are all forms
of insomnia.’’ Definition from the Gale encyclopaedia of Mental Health
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which the person affected is unable to get enough, or
deep enough sleep. There are two types of Insomnia, acute insomnia ( also sometimes
known as transient insomnia), and Chronic Insomnia.
Acute insomnia can be described as when the symptoms last a relatively short time
where as Chronic insomnia the symptoms last over a much longer period.
There is also Primary, and Secondary Insomnia. Primary insomnia cannot be traced back
to any other condition. Secondary Insomnia can be caused by other reasoning such as
medication, alcohol and other substances or mental disorders.
Insomniacs can suffer from symptoms such as;
•Trouble falling to sleep at night
•Trouble staying asleep
•Awaken very early in the morning and cannot go back to sleep
•Get enough sleep at night, but the sleep is too light and therefore they do not feel
•Inability to concentrate during the day
•Drowsiness during the day
There are many things that are said to cause insomnia;
•Starting a new job
•Changes in routine
Other factors such as taking medications, drug abuse, exercising
before bedtime, drinking tea or having a large meal close to trying to
go to sleep.
Also, doing things not associated with sleep and relaxation in bed (
for example, watching television or reading) can make it hard to fall
asleep when you desire.
For a person to be diagnoses with Insomnia firstly they
must have been experiencing the symptoms for at least
one month and must be causing some distress or
preventing the person from functioning normally.
There is currently no test to diagnose Insomnia. Insomnia
is usually self reported
Some Treatments for Insomnia include;
•Behavioural and educational therapies
•Changing pre-bedtime activities
•Avoiding large meals, caffeine alcohol etc before bed
•Attempting to change mental associations with bed
( for example the patients mental association with the
bedroom should be linked with only sleep)
•There are also many medicines to treat insomnia,
which are all called hypnotics
Previous studies about
There have been many past studies on Insomnia, for example
features in ‘Monitor on Psychology’ October 2005, Vol 36, No. 9
a study found that Insomnia can precede and maintain Depression.
Another study has found that Insomnia can be linked to suicidal
The Gale Encyclopaedia of Mental Health, Second Edition ( A-L)
Vol 1 pg 604-605, ‘Insomnia’ (2008) by Drake Road published by
Gale cengage learning.
eMedicineHealth ‘Insomnia’ (2010)
Better Health Channel, ‘ Sleep problems – Insomnia’ (2009)