Unraveling The Mystery That Is Insomnia

What happens to us during our slumber remains a mystery to all of us. Our conscious mind can’t recall anything that transpires to us during sleep. That’s how nature designed this restorative process to be. However, not everyone gets to enjoy a good night’s sleep because of sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. Just recently, doctors found a new discovery about insomnia as to why it happens to help in its management. Basically, insomnia is the difficulty of falling and staying asleep. It is easy to identify insomnia although experts always advise getting yourself checked if you have sleep issues to be certain. Symptoms of insomnia include an extreme difficulty in falling asleep. Just give up on counting sheep and save yourself from all the tossing and turning and get medical help.

Another symptom is suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and be unable to sleep after. Sleep continues to elude you no matter what you do. It baffled people for a long time but we now know more about this sleep condition than we did in the past. Not only is it a medical condition, it can be triggered by psychiatric issues too. Experts have deduced that insomnia may be a malfunction of your body’s natural sleep drive. It’s either you have an excess of wake drive or lacking in sleep drive. Different medical conditions, like snoring of course, trigger insomnia but the intake of certain substances can also be to blame.

It’s defined as the inability to get to sleep or remain asleep, and is often attributed to psychological reasons, such as stress.

But new research has found it could actually be due to genetics instead.

In a study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers have found – for the first time – that there are seven risk genes for insomnia.

It had previously been thought that the sleep condition could be because of stress, anxiety or depression.

Modern technology enables researchers to delve deeper into this sleep condition to hopefully help the millions of people who end up losing precious sleep because they can’t will themselves to fall asleep.

“Our research brings a new perspective. Insomnia is also in the genes.”

After looking at 113,006 individuals, they found particular genes that predisposes people to insomnia.

One of the genes has previously been linked to two other sleep disorders – Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS) and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

However, PLMS and RLS are associated with restless movement and sensation, whereas insomnia is more a restless stream of consciousness.


Insomnia is caused by a variety of factors, which makes it doubly hard to manage. Aside from medically-related conditions, outside factors like stress at school or work, or relationship issues can likewise leave you wide-eyed until the wee hours of the morning. Too much worrying about the future is also a culprit, which most worriers are guilty of doing more often than not.

Insomnia, the difficulty of getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, regularly affects around one in every three adults, particularly the elderly.

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology wanted to explore how people overcome tiredness in the face of a looming deadline or rouse themselves in the dead of night to feed a crying baby.

Assistant Professor Viviana Gradinaru said: “We decided to examine a region of the brain, called the dorsal raphe nucleus, where there are an under-studied group of dopamine neurons called dorsal raphe nucleus neurons, or DRNDA neurons.

“People who have damage in this part of their brain have been shown to experience excessive daytime sleepiness, but there was not a good understanding of the exact role of these neurons in the sleep/wake cycle and whether they react to internal or external stimuli to influence arousal.”


It can truly be a bother not being able to sleep especially when you need to recharge for a busy day ahead. Unfortunately, insomnia is a force to reckon with and you won’t be able to overcome it just by willing yourself to sleep. Doctors can help you get over insomnia, so sleeping at night becomes a natural thing for you once more. Saying that you need to get treatment for it is an understatement considering how much your health suffers when you chronically lose sleep. Don’t compromise your health and get checked by a sleep doctor so that insomnia is no longer a big issue in your life.

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