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What Is Insomnia?

It's normal to sometimes have trouble falling asleep. It's also normal to find yourself awake in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. But if this happens often enough to affect your daily activities, you may have insomnia.

What causes insomnia?

Some common causes of insomnia are:

  • Health problems. These may be things such as pain, depression, medicine side effects, or trouble breathing.

  • Circadian rhythm disorder. This is a shift in the body’s normal 24-hour activity cycle.

  • Lifestyle factors. These can include a changing sleep schedule or lack of exercise. Too much caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol can also be a cause.

  • Sleep settings. This includes things such as a poor mattress, noise, or a room that’s too hot or too cold.

  • Stress. You may be stressed about problems at work, money worries, or family events.

Talk with your healthcare provider

Man talking to healthcare provider.

Describe your sleeping problems to your healthcare provider. Try to keep a daily sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down the time you go to bed, the time you wake up, how you feel during the day, and anything that seems to affect your sleep. Make note of the time and amount of caffeine or alcohol you drink. Include any medicines you use, including over the counter medicines and herbs. Your healthcare provider can review your diary and work with you to create a treatment plan. You may need to learn good sleeping habits. You may need to make some lifestyle changes. Any health problems you have may need to be treated first.

Online Medical Reviewer: Andrew D Schriber MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
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