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What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a condition that makes it hard to fall or stay asleep. Lack of sleep can lead to attention or memory problems during the day. You may also be moody, depressed, clumsy, or have headaches.

What increases my risk for insomnia?

  • Older age
  • Stress or worry about sleep problems
  • Medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, GERD, COPD, asthma
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Blood pressure medicines or antidepressants
  • Odd work schedules or travel

How is insomnia diagnosed?

Your caregiver will ask when your symptoms began and how often you cannot sleep. He will ask if you take any medicines that can cause insomnia, such as blood pressure medicine. He will ask if you have a medical condition, such as GERD, or a mental health condition, such depression. He may also have you take a survey about your sleep.

How is insomnia treated?

  • A behavioral therapist can help you find ways to decrease stress and improve sleep.
  • Sleep medicines may help you sleep more regularly. Sleep medicines are available with or without a doctor's order. If you do not get a doctor's order, ask which medicine to get. Ask how much to take, and how often to take it.
  • Antianxiety medicine may help you feel less anxious.

What can I do to improve my sleep?

  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Turn on white noise, such as a fan, to help you relax. Do not use your bed for any activity that will keep you awake. Do not read, exercise, eat, or watch TV in your bedroom.
  • Create a sleep schedule. This will help you form a sleep routine. Keep a record of your sleep patterns, and any sleeping problems you have. Bring the record to follow-up visits with caregivers.
  • Get up if you do not fall asleep within 30 minutes. Move to another room and do something relaxing for 30 minutes or until you become sleepy.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise may help you sleep better. Exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and smoking before bedtime. Only drink caffeine in the morning. Do not eat a heavy meal right before you go to bed. Eat a light snack as directed.
  • Do not take naps. Naps could make it hard for you to fall asleep at bedtime.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness or depression get worse.
  • You begin to use drugs or alcohol to fall asleep or stay awake.
  • You have questions or concerns about your medicines, condition, or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You feel you may harm yourself or others.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.