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Insomnia: Introduction

Insomnia is a very common condition in which a person isn't getting enough sleep or is getting poor quality of sleep. Insomnia can occur if someone has difficulty falling asleep, wakes up often, wakes up and cannot fall back asleep, or wakes up too early in the morning. Insomnia can occur to people of both sexes and at any age. However, it is most common in women and in older adults and the elderly.

Insomnia is a symptom of a wide range of medical conditions and diseases, lifestyle factors, mental health conditions, and other underlying causes. For more information on causes, refer to causes of insomnia.

Getting a good night's sleep is vital to optimal health and functioning. Symptoms and complications of insomnia can vary between individuals and the underlying cause and be mild to severe. Symptoms can include daytime drowsiness and an increased risk of motor vehicle collision and other types of accidents and mistakes. Quality of life can be drastically affected by insomnia due to irritability, fatigue, and a decreased ability to concentrate. Insomnia can severely impair a person's productivity and ability to participate effectively in relationships, work, and school.

Chronic insomnia can also lead to or aggravate anxiety and depression and cause other disturbances in mood. At the same time, anxiety, anxiety disorders and depression can be an underlying cause of insomnia.

Making a diagnosis of the underlying cause of insomnia begins with taking a thorough medical history, including a history of sleep patterns, and completing a full physical examination. Making a diagnosis also includes performing tests that can detect underlying medical causes of insomnia, such as hyperthyroidism and obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

Sleep disorders are often diagnosed by performing specialized testing in a sleep lab. A referral to a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health provider is often made to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia related to depression, an anxiety disorder or another mental health condition.

It is possible that a diagnosis of insomnia can be missed or delayed because it may be considered a normal part of aging of for other reasons. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of insomnia.

Treatment of insomnia varies depending on the underlying cause, the severity, and a person's medical history, age, and general health. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of insomnia....more »

Insomnia: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the underlying cause of insomnia may be missed or delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, people with a mental illness, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, may fear the stigma of or be embarrassed by mental illness and not seek treatment. In addition, older adults may believe that insomnia is a normal part of aging ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Insomnia:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Insomnia. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

  • Common problems with the sleeping environment include:
    • Sleeping area distractions
    • Noise
    • Extreme temperatures
    • Poorly ventilated bedroom
    • Stuffy bedroom
    • Hot bedroom
    • Cold bedroom
    • Wrong mattress
    • Too soft mattress
    • Too hard mattress
  • Some possible causes of infant or child sleep problems include:
  • Common causes of mild insomnia:
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Normal aging - a reduction in sleep requirements often accompanies aging.
    • Caffeine before bedtime
    • Overeating - eating too much before bedtime can cause insomnia.
  • more causes...»

» Review Causes of Insomnia: Causes | Assessment Questionnaire »

Common Causes of Insomnia

Home Diagnostic Testing and Insomnia

Home medical tests possibly related to Insomnia:

Causes of Types of Insomnia:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Insomnia:

Review causes of types of Insomnia in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Insomnia:

Insomnia Treatments

The first step to addressing insomnia is to diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, obstructive sleep apnea, depression and any chronic diseases.

There are many ways to reduce and even eliminate insomnia caused by certain lifestyle factors, such as stress. The most effective strategy is to address ...Insomnia Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Insomnia may include:

Review further information on Insomnia Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Insomnia

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Insomnia may include:

Stories from Users for Insomnia

Real-life user stories relating to Insomnia:

Message Boards for Insomnia

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Insomnia or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Insomnia:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Insomnia. Some of these are listed below :

Insomnia: Animations

Medications or substances causing Insomnia:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Insomnia as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Various common substances can cause insomnia:
    • Caffeine - especially before bedtime, but even in the afternoon for some people.
    • Coffee - coffee contains caffeine
    • Tea - contains caffeine
    • Colas - many contain caffeine
  • more causes...»

Drug interactions causing Insomnia:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Insomnia as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Aerolate interaction
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Bronkodyl interaction
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Elixophyllin interaction
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Slo-bid interaction
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Theobid interaction
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) and Theoclear interaction
  • more interactions...»

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Insomnia

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Insomnia:

  • Restlessness (380 causes)
  • Sleeping area distractions
  • Noise
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Poorly ventilated bedroom
  • Stuffy bedroom
  • Hot bedroom
  • Cold bedroom
  • Wrong mattress
  • Too soft mattress
  • more symptoms...»

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Insomnia. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Insomnia Assessment Questionnaire (27 listings)

Insomnia: Deaths

Read more about causes and Insomnia deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Insomnia

Insidious cancer misdiagnosed as mental health condition: Pancreatic cancer is fortunately relatively rare, but this dangerous condition can be misdiagnosed as a mental condition in its early stages. Psychological more »

RLS sleep disorder causing night-time leg sensations often misdiagnosed: A common but relatively unknown sleep-related disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is often misdiagnosed. The typical symptoms are night-time tingling, crawling, more »

Insomnia: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Causes of Insomnia listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Insomnia as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Insomnia

Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following:

  • difficulty falling asleep

  • waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep

  • waking up too early in the morning

  • unrefreshing sleep

(Source: excerpt from Insomnia: NWHIC)

Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of... (Source: excerpt from Insomnia: NWHIC)

Definitions of Insomnia:

Disorders characterized by impairment of the ability to initiate or maintain sleep. This may occur as a primary disorder or in association with another medical or psychiatric condition.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

An inability to sleep; chronic sleeplessness
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

Organs affected by Insomnia:

The list of organs typically affected by Insomnia may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Insomnia

The list below shows some of the causes of Insomnia mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Insomnia?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Insomnia. Of the 521 causes of Insomnia that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 22 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 20 causes are "common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 2 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 8 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 496 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Insomnia:

The following list of conditions have 'Insomnia' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Insomnia or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X






















Conditions listing medical complications: Insomnia:

The following list of medical conditions have Insomnia or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.










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Causes of Insomnia Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Insomnia based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Insomnia?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Insomnia, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    What are the alternative names for Insomnia:

    Sleep disturbance, Dyssomnia
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Insomnia:

    Subtypes of Insomnia:

    Sleep disturbance (104 causes), Sleeping difficulty (31 causes), Not enough sleep (28 causes), Difficulty falling asleep (33 causes), Sleeplessness (20 causes), Yawning Excessively (20 causes), Dream disturbance (4 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Insomnia:

    Sleep symptoms (1476 causes), Nocturnal symptoms (698 causes), Sleeping problems (873 causes)

    Symptoms related to Insomnia:

    Restlessness (380 causes), Sleeping area distractions, Noise, Extreme temperatures, Poorly ventilated bedroom, Stuffy bedroom, Hot bedroom, Cold bedroom, Wrong mattress, Too soft mattress

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Insomnia

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Insomnia and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Insomnia:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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