Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. nearly one-third of all adults report insomnia symptoms and 6 to 10 percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed with insomnia disorder.

What is insomnia? Most adults need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep. People with insomnia may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or may wake up too early and be unable to go back to sleep. Insomnia can lead someone to feel fatigued or sapped of energy, which can interfere with daily activities and work performance.

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. nearly one-third of all adults report insomnia symptoms and 6 to 10 percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed with insomnia disorder.

What is insomnia? Most adults need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep. People with insomnia may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or may wake up too early and be unable to go back to sleep. Insomnia can lead someone to feel fatigued or sapped of energy, which can interfere with daily activities and work performance.

Types of insomnia

Primary insomnia is insomnia that is not caused by any other condition. It is generally caused by life changes.

Insomnia that occurs as a result of an underlying health condition or lifestyle habit, such as a mental health condition or excessive daytime napping is called secondary insomnia. Doctors often call this type of insomnia comorbid insomnia.

Acute vs. chronic insomnia

Acute insomnia is short-term and lasts for days or weeks. Most adults will experience acute insomnia at some point in their life. Often it is caused by life stressors like work, problems at home, jet lag, or a short-term traumatic event. Generally, acute insomnia will resolve over time when the stressful event has passed.

Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Chronic insomnia can be a primary problem or may be related to an underlying medical condition or medication use. If poor sleep is negatively impacting your daily life, it may be time to reach out to your primary care physician.

Symptoms of insomnia

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • waking up during the night
  • feeling fatigued after a full night’s sleep
  • increased number of errors or mistakes while performing daily activities
  • irritability or anxiety
  • daytime sleepiness
  • inability to focus or remember things

Having just one bad night’s rest does not mean you have insomnia; insomnia is characterized by a persistent inability to sleep over a period of days to months.

Can insomnia actually harm my health?

One bad night’s rest will likely not take a significant toll on you. However, a chronic lack of restful sleep can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. As a whole, people with insomnia report a lower quality of life than those who sleep well. Research from the National Academy of Medicine found that chronic insomnia increases a person’s risk of:

  • Obesity in adults and children
  • Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance
  • Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depressed mood
  • Alcohol use

What are the risk factors of insomnia?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, insomnia is more common in women than men. Although insomnia can occur at any age, it is more likely to affect older adults.

Additional factors that increase the risk of insomnia are:

  • Significant stress levels
  • Depression or other mental health disorders
  • Emotional distress related to significant life events, like divorce or death of a loved one
  • Having lower incomes
  • Working at night or have a work schedule that shifts frequently
  • Long distances travel, especially between different time zones
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Certain medication, especially antidepressants, stimulants, and  hypertensives
  • Frequent use of stimulants like nicotine or caffeine
  • Alcohol use
  • Pregnancy, menopause, or other events characterized by hormonal changes
  • Other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or sleep paralysis

Insomnia treatment

Experts recommend taking the following steps to optimize your chances for a good night of sleep:

  • Get to bed early
  • Avoid sleeping late
  • Keep a consistent sleep and wake routine
  • Get some sunlight
  • Don’t rely on alcohol to help you sleep
  • Get some physical activity during the day
  • Power down devices and avoid strenuous activities before bed
  • Relax before bedtime

When adopting good sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques, and other bedtime habits aren’t enough, other treatments may be necessary. These treatments can include sleeping pills, therapy, and cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES).

Sleep medication and stimulants

Some people with insomnia may turn to sleep aids or take a sleeping pill for relief. Some individuals may respond well to these. However, these medications can cause harmful residual side effects and may not be the best treatment for chronic insomnia. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a meta-analysis on the efficacy of commonly-prescribed medications for insomnia such as benzodiazepines is limited at best. Additionally, many insomnia medications can have adverse side-effects, such as:

  • Dependence
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Dry Mouth
  • Nausea
  • Frequent oversleeping
  • Nightmares
  • A “hangover” sensation
  • Sedation
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Motor incoordination
  • Ataxia (the loss of full control of bodily movements)
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Increased risk of falling (especially for the elderly)

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a well-established practice. Medications often target symptoms instead of underlying causes, CBT-I teaches you to recognize and alter thoughts and behaviors that impede restful sleep.

Other drug side effects

They also associate antidepressants used as insomnia treatment with:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Increased mania/hypomania in patients with bipolar disorder
  • Exacerbation of restless legs syndrome

Public safety can also suffer the effects of medicinal sleep aids. These include impairment of next-day driving, the risk of motor vehicle accidents, and “sleep driving” according to the FDA.

Multiple risks are associated with prescription medications to treat insomnia, and alternative approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), are becoming more widely adopted.

CBT-I may involve different strategies, including relaxation training, stimulus control therapy, or light therapy. These therapies can be combined with other lifestyle changes – like exercise and good sleep hygiene – to promote long-term quality sleep. CBT-I is often as effective as medication for treating chronic insomnia but avoids the harmful side effects.

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) 

Another alternative to medications is cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), an FDA-cleared treatment for insomnia. The brain has electrochemical signals that control whether we are asleep or awake. CES is the use of a small medical device to deliver pulses of low-intensity currents to the brain in a specific pattern called a waveform. The current is so low that most people do not even feel it. However, these pulses modulate the brain’s electrochemical signals and bring them back into balance.

CES is a safe and effective treatment for chronic insomnia. It can be used on its own or combined with medication or therapy, making it a flexible tool for combating sleep disorders.

Alpha-Stim and insomnia

People with insomnia can enjoy healthy sleep with Alpha-Stim® AID. It is an FDA cleared CES medical device used to treat chronic insomnia and improve overall sleep quality.

Alpha-Stim’s technology is based on an exclusive, patented waveform that’s the most researched and proven of its kind. The waveform passes between two electrodes clipped to your earlobes, restoring balance in your brain and reducing insomnia.

Alpha-Stim can be used in the comfort of your own home or while at work. To everyone else, it just looks like you’re listening to music with earbuds.

Using the device between 20 minutes and one hour once a day is all you need to safely and quickly treat chronic insomnia. Over time, you can decrease treatments to every other day, then to 2-3 times per week.

Alpha-Stim effectively combats chronic insomnia: in one sleep study, the number of subjects who reported poor quality of sleep dropped from 60% to 5%. while using the device.2 After only 5 Alpha-Stim insomnia treatments, military Service Members with insomnia reported an increase of 43 minutes of sleep. Surveys also shows patients feel better with Alpha-Stim than with medications when it comes to treating insomnia.

better sleep

The number of subjects rating their quality of sleep as poor dropped from 60% to 5%.2

more sleep

After only 5 Alpha-Stim insomnia treatments, military Service Members with insomnia reported an increase of 43 minutes of sleep.1

Alpha-Stim technology helps you avoid or reduce the need for sleep medications. But it is safe to use with prescriptions or over-the-counter medications if needed.

In a nutshell, Alpha-Stim can help your time in bed be restful, not stressful. Best of all, it comes with no lasting side effects or additional risks. Talk to your doctor or sleep specialist about how CES treatment may help with your sleep problem. If your doctor is not familiar with Alpha-Stim technology, ask him or her to look at our website, particularly the 100+ clinical research studies detailed at


What people are saying…

The Alpha-Stim is great for our whole family! It has helped me sleep better, have a better mood, and get rid of pain! It has helped my daughter be calmer and not so hyper.

Jennifer King Guido

Alpha-Stim is the best investment I’ve ever made in my health. I am feeling better than ever, and I am more alert without any insomnia issues.

Leslie GeorgeTexas

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and insomnia for several years. I have tried so many different medication combinations with no luck. My doctor borrowed an associate’s Alpha-Stim, asking me to try it out for a month. At first I thought the sensation was a little strange but once I got used to it I could see a difference. I returned the machine and worked on getting one through the VA…Not. The 6 weeks I didn’t use the Alpha Stim I felt myself sliding back into the bad funk I had been in for years. Couldn’t wait any longer and purchased my own. Using it every evening for an hour… I feel some of my anxiety and depression is less severe. Of course, everything will never go away completely, however, Alpha-Stim has made life much more bearable. I highly recommend anyone with the same issues try it out.

Tonya Ziegler

After checking with a doctor, I sent for an Alpha-Stim and was overwhelmed by the results—the more I use it the better I sleep!

Ann BlauveltHawaii

Not only have I experienced relief from anxiety and insomnia; additionally, Alpha-Stim treatments have reduced or eliminated accompanying physical pain.

CH (MAJ) David J. FairPhD, President, American Association of Police Officers; President, Homeland Crisis InstituteTexas

My doctor prescribed the Alpha-Stim for my chronic insomnia. The first night I tried it, I went to sleep without any medication for the first time in years. It’s a small miracle! As I continue to use it, I find my mind is clearer, my moods more even and my stress level is at an all-time low. I’m extremely grateful to have discovered this wonderful device.

Linda Segall

It would seem as if the Alpha-Stim is our missing link. We have tried so much to lift Leigha’s 2 year depression which has interfered with her having any pleasure in her life. We have great hope & have already had a massive change on her symptoms of sleeplessness, anxiety & depression. Even if this is just a reprieve, we cannot thank you enough for developing such an amazing technology! Many thanks!

Mother of 17-year-old daughter with insomnia, anxiety, and depression

It works. I am a Veteran. I couldn’t sleep and I was on medication. I am off medication and I sleep much better. Thank You.

Judy Hughes, Veteran Flight Nurse, Gulf War

I haven’t slept more than four hours in a night in years. The VA used this on me last week, 30 minutes a day for three days. I slept 6 hours two nights and almost 7 the third night. More sleep, better the mood, much less anxiety.

Paul ReinhardtUS veteran

It works a treat to help with anxiety and sleep issues. Fantastic product I can’t recommend it highly enough. I use it every night for 20 minutes before I go to sleep and I wake up refreshed and calm. I no longer get an adrenaline spike in the morning which is great.

Genee Schock, UK
insomnia survey

Survey shows patients feel better with Alpha-Stim insomnia treatment than with drugs


Frequently asked questions about insomnia

I feel tired and low on energy all day, but when I go to bed I can’t sleep. Why is this happening?

If you’re feeling tired all day, you’ve likely been tempted to either double down on your caffeine intake or take a nap. Though it may seem counterintuitive, a recent article from Harvard recommends avoiding napping, as it can ruin your body’s “appetite” for sleep later at night. Caffeine consumption can likewise prevent your body from entering a restful state, even hours later.

Try to stick to a schedule – even if it’s different from your “normal” routine.  Waking and going to bed at the same time each day can help your body get into a groove. It doesn’t matter if your new schedule looks completely different from what it used to; what matters is consistency now.

I can fall asleep, but it’s not restful, and I keep waking up. What can I do?

Our bodies are wired to stay awake when we feel threatened, according to Janet Kennedy, PhD, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor. “Our bodies are misfiring,” she says, and making it impossible for us to stay asleep.

Dr. Kennedy recommends getting out of bed when this happens – watch a TV show, work on a puzzle, do some dishes. Waiting to go back to sleep will only make you frustrated.

If insomnia is an ongoing issue for you, treatments with Alpha-Stim can bring you better quality, longer sleep. Treatments take just 20 minutes to an hour and are done in the comfort of your own home. You’ll get better sleep, and will be better prepared for the next day!

Does insomnia trigger sleep apnea or vice versa?

The American Sleep Foundation says sleep apnea and drugs prescribed to remedy other medical conditions are among the causes of insomnia.

Alpha-Stim for insomnia treatment is ideal in these situations because it offers insomnia relief and better sleep habits without medication.

Get insomnia relief today.


  1. Lande RG, Gragnani C. Efficacy of Cranial Electric Stimulation for the treatment of insomnia: A randomized pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2013; 21(1):8-13.
  2. Lichtbroun AS, Raicer MMC, Smith RB. The treatment of fibromyalgia with Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatolog. 2001; 7(2):72-78.
  3. Accessed online June 3, 2014. Brain basics: understanding sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  4. Accessed online June 3,2014.