If you think that you have insomnia, you should talk to your doctor. A medical history, physical examination and sleep history study will help with diagnosing insomnia and help to determine if there is a specific underlying cause. In the case of chronic insomnia, a psychiatric evaluation may be helpful in determining if your insomnia is a symptom of depression.
Keeping a sleep diary that keeps track of your sleep patterns may be helpful in diagnosing insomnia. Be sure to provide your doctor with a list of all the medications that you may be taking. Some medications can contribute to insomnia.
Insomnia becomes more prevalent as we age, and most doctors look at four main areas when diagnosing insomnia. They are as follows:
* Physical: may include cardivascular disease, asthma or other lung problems, chronic pain, bladder or prostate problems, sleep apnea etc.
* Environmental: noise, late-night eating or inactivity during the day.
* Medical: drugs, such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, antidepressant medications, stimulants, or medication schedules.
* Mental: depression (life changes and events that become more common as we age, such as retirement, death of a loved one etc), stress (health related and/or financial) and anxiety.
Symptoms when diagnosing insomnia:
Insomnia is characterized by one or more of a combination of the following symptoms:
* Difficulty falling asleep
* Waking often (more than three times a night)
* Moving suddenly from being asleep to being awake
* Light, restless sleep that does not leave you refreshed, even if you sleep the same number of hours as usual.
* Shifting sleep patterns (often a cycle of waking very early without being able to return to sleep)
* Confusion between night and day in terms of your body's levels of tiredness and energy.
For more help in diagnosing your insomnia, take our free, simple sleep quiz here