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What are the causes of primary insomnia?

This question was asked in Irvine, California on 02/02/2012.
In the past, my physician mentioned that I may suffer from insomnia due to continued problems falling and staying asleep. He didn't give very much information and I am not sure how reliable the articles I’ve read online are. What, exactly, are the causes of primary insomnia?

Doctors Answers (2)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 2/2/2012 2

Idiopathic Primary Insomnia previously called child onset insomnia is a lifelong inability to obtain adequate sleep due to a constant hyper-aroused state for 24 hours due to an imbalance within the neurologic sleep/wake system.

The cause for primary insomnia is not known, but likely involves impairment of the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small group of cells located in the hypothalamus of the brain.

Secondary insomnia, on the other hand, may be “secondary” to medications or various other disorders including chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, psychiatric problems or other sleep disorders.