Can’t you always sleep? Then you are not alone: ​​almost one in three Dutch people have sleeping problems. So millions of eyes are staring at the ceiling every night. How come you sleep badly? And what impact does that have on your body? We tell you all about insomnia.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia, insomnia, and insomnia are names for the same phenomenon. You have insomnia when your sleep is disturbed, while you have enough opportunity to sleep. There are two variants: acute or chronic insomnia.

Acute insomnia

Acute insomnia is normal and often lasts several days or weeks. This is also known as adaptive insomnia because it is generally caused by sudden changes in your life and things such as high workload, tense family relationships, or a traumatic experience.

Chronic insomnia

This is less common and lasts a month or more. This variant is often caused by underlying problems such as medical conditions, medication use, or the transition.

When do I have insomnia?

You will be diagnosed with ‘insomnia’ if your sleeping problems have a negative effect on your daily functioning. Usually, you have one or more of the following three problems with insomnia:

  • You only fall asleep after you have been awake for more than an hour.
  • You wake up frequently at night and have trouble falling asleep again.
  • You wake up very early in the morning and then no longer fall asleep.

Keeping a sleep diary can help to identify your sleep problems. In it, you keep track of, for example, what time you go to bed, what time you wake up, and whether you lie awake at night. You can also systematically write down how rested you feel when you get up in the morning and whether there are any important events that affect your stress level during the day. Do you suspect you have insomnia? Then it is advisable to consult your doctor.

What are the causes of insomnia?

Why can’t you sleep? There are various reasons for this. We list the common ones for you.

Psychological problems

Psychological problems and insomnia can interact. For example, depression can make you sleep poorly, but insomnia can also promote depression.


In response to stress, your body produces stress hormones to bring your mind and body to a state of utmost preparedness. The stress response is intended to be short-lived. After that, your body needs to recover. During prolonged periods of stress, the body cannot recover, and you may feel rushed and develop sleep problems.

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