Idiopathic Insomnia: a rare, lifelong inability to obtain adequate sleep that is presumably due to an abnormality in the neurological control of the sleep-wake system. Those with Idiopathic Insomnia (also called Childhood Onset Insomnia) cannot think of a time when they could sleep well, even as children. Their history of poor sleep is lifelong and relentless.


    For some people, Idiopathic Insomnia seems to be present at birth. At the latest, it appears sometime during childhood. Once present, it never goes away.
    This disorder is a primary form of insomnia. It therefore does not develop as the result of a medical or psychiatric problem. Nor is it associated with another chronic sleep problem. It is not even due to life stress.
     Despite the lack of additional health problems, a night's rest is extremely difficult for a person with Idiopathic Insomnia to ever manage. The amount of time spent sleeping is very short. It is difficult to fall and stay asleep no matter how positive the sleeping conditions. Numerous awakenings throughout the night are also common. These symptoms of insomnia persist nearly every night.

> Idiopathic vs. Psychophysiological. Both problems involve a chronic complaint of insomnia. The difference is that Idiopathic Insomnia is not a learned behavior that is precipitated by stress.


   A sleep disorders evaluation may not be necessary, if the chronic lack of sleep does not interfere with functioning well during the day. Because Idiopathic Insomnia is experienced from birth or early childhood, many people learn how to adapt. If daytime tiredness, attention problems, or other symptoms of sleep deprivation become a problem, then it may be helpful to seek the advice of a doctor or sleep specialist.
       Your family history, lifelong history of insomnia and a two week
sleep diary will help diagnose this condition. The log should reflect: bedtime, the time it takes to fall asleep, the number and duration of awakenings during the night, and the time you arise from sleep. An overnight sleep study may be necessary if another sleep disorder is suspected. The test, called a polysomnogram, records brainwaves, muscular activity and breathing during the course of a night's sleep.


     Idiopathic Insomnia incorporates some of the same treatments as other forms of insomnia:
Good Sleep Hygiene:  undermines poor sleep habits, which can aggravate persistent insomnia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): any number of psychotherapies designed to improve the likelihood of sleep. This includes:
Stimulus Control:  trains the mind to go to bed only when tired, to avoid developing an association between the bedroom and wakefulness.
Sleep Restriction Therapy: which reduces the number of hours in bed until  sleeping there is unmistakeable.
Medication: in some cases may improve the process of sleep. Commonly used prescription medications include: Zolpidem (Ambien), Eszopiclone  (Lunesta), and Trazadone (Desyrel).

Idiopathic Insomnia Mechanics

     It is not known exactly why some people seem to be born with lifelong, relentless insomnia. Some theories suggests that there is a dysfunction in how the brain manages sleep.
       Under normal conditions, sleep
and wakefulness occur naturally. To see that this happens, certain areas of the brain take on the task of keeping us awake, while other areas dominate during sleep. The "sleep system" of a person with Idiopathic Insomnia may be underactive, or the "waking system" may be overactive.

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SleepIssues:Can’t Sleep
SleepCaptions:Idiopathic Insomnia