How is insomnia diagnosed?
Diagnosing sleep disturbance and its cause is the most important step in restoring healthy sleep. The diagnosis of insomnia is made by a physician based on the patient's reported signs and symptoms. The doctor relies on the person's report of a problem falling or remaining asleep. It can be useful for the patient to keep a daily record for two weeks of sleep patterns, food intake, use of alcohol, medications, exercise, and any other information recommended by the physician.
If the patient has a bed partner, information can be obtained about whether the patient snores or is restless during sleep. This, together with a medical history and physical examination, can help confirm the doctor's assessment.
Determining the causes or the severity of insomnia is less straightforward. A wide variety of healthcare professionals can recognize and treat insomnia, but when a patient with chronic insomnia does not respond to treatment, or the condition is not adequately explained by the patient's physical, emotional, or mental circumstances, then more extensive testing by a specialist in sleep disorders may be warranted. Causes of insomnia are identified by looking closely at a person's sleep patterns, habits around bedtime, use of drugs, use of cigarettes and alcohol, physical activity, and medical history. This evaluation along with a few common blood tests usually provides all the information the doctor needs. However, if the insomnia continues for more than 6 months and does not improve with treatment, a person may be referred to a sleep laboratory. The person's brain waves, heart rate, and breathing may be monitored while they sleep. This test, called polysomnography, can help a doctor determine whether a specific sleep disorder (such as periodic limb movements or sleep apnea) is causing the insomnia.
More information on insomnia
What is insomnia? - Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or a disturbance in sleep that makes sleep seem inadequate or unrefreshing.
What types of insomnia are there? - Insomnia can be classified as transient, intermittent, and chronic insomnia. Insomnia is also characterized as primary or secondary insomnia.
What causes insomnia? - About half of all insomnia cases are caused by psychological or emotional problems. Sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism can also cause insomnia.
What causes transient insomnia? - Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation. A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and transient insomnia.
What causes chronic insomnia? - One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma.
What're the risk factors for insomnia? - The strongest risk factors for insomnia are psychiatric problems. Insomnia is more common in women than men.
What're the complications of insomnia? - Complications of insomnia include impaired mental functioning, accidents, mortality rates, stress and depression, heart disease, headaches.
What are the symptoms of insomnia? - Symptoms of insomnia can be different for each individual, and people with insomnia might experience a variety of symptoms.
How is insomnia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of insomnia is made by a physician based on the patient's reported signs and symptoms.
What's the treatment for insomnia? - Treatment of insomnia may involve treatment of the underlying medical disorder. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs.
Behavioral and non-drug treatment therapies for insomnia - Behavioral therapies are effective for insomnia. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia.
What prescription drugs are available for insomnia? - Rescription sleep medication may be required to cure insomnia. Various types of prescription medication include benzodiazepines, antidepressants.
What over-the-counter medications are available for insomnia? - Over-the-counter medications for insomnia include Nytol, Sleep-Eez, and Sominex. Antihistamines may be used as mild sleep inducers.
Does melatonin help to cure insomnia? - Melatonin, or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine, is a hormone produced by pinealocytes in the pineal gland. Melatonin may help certain older people with insomnia.
What natural insomnia remedies are available? - Many alternative treatments are effective in treating both the symptom of insomnia. Many people with insomnia choose herbal remedies for treating insomnia.
How to prevent insomnia? - Prevention of insomnia involves balance of rest, recreation and exercise in combination with stress management, regular physical examinations, and a healthy diet.