The perception or complaint of patients who don't get enough sleep for the following reasons:

  • They have difficulty falling asleep
  • They wake up frequently during the night and may have trouble falling asleep again
  • They wake up too early in the morning
  • They believe their sleep to be unrefreshing or unsatisfying

Like many things in life, it's not the just the quantity, but the quality of sleep that defines a person's perception of a good night's sleep. Insomnia may cause daytime problems like tiredness, lack of energy, concentration difficulties and, at times, irritability. Patients have described their insomnia in varying stages, with words and phrases like transient, intermittent and chronic.

What Causes Insomnia?

  • Advanced, or advancing, age
  • Female gender
  • History of depression

Combine any of the above-mentioned factors with stress, and you have a recipe for insomnia.

If you experience transient insomnia or intermittent insomnia, these are factors that may affect you:

  • Stress
  • Environmental noises
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Change in the surrounding environment
  • Problems in sleep/wake schedule
  • Side effects from medications

If you experience chronic insomnia, there may be underlying physical or mental disorders associated with your condition. These can include arthritis, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, kidney disease, narcolepsy, Parkinson's Disease and hyperthyroidism, among others. Misuse of caffeine, alcohol or other substances may also be a factor. Shift work, or changing shifts periodically, may be an underlying cause.

If you experience chronic insomnia, these are factors that may affect you:

  • Expecting to have difficulty falling asleep and worrying
  • Drinking alcohol before bedtime
  • Smoking cigarettes before bedtime
  • Overingestion of caffeine
  • Irregular sleep/wake schedules

Stopping some of these behaviors may eliminate the insomnia.

Who Gets Insomnia?

Men get insomnia, but post-menopausal females tend to be the largest segment of the patient population to experience insomnia. While you need a great night's sleep, for many women, the ability to get that solid night's sleep becomes more and more difficult due, in some cases, to insomnia.

How Is Insomnia Diagnosed?

We review your entire medical history, including your present regimen of medications. We also ask you questions that become part of your Sleep History. You will be asked to fill out a Sleep Diary that details when you were able to sleep, and when you weren't able to sleep, over a pre-determined period. Once we review all this information, you may need to participate in an overnight sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, narcolepsy or some other sleep disorder.

How Is Insomnia Treated?

Transient and intermittent insomnia may not require treatment at all, since they are not long-lasting. But, if you experience daytime sleepiness and your performance is impaired in work, sporting activities or other activities of daily living, short-acting sleeping pills may be prescribed. Over-the-counter sleep medicines are not recommended for the treatment of insomnia.

Behavioral techniques, such as relaxation therapy (to stop your mind from racing), sleep restriction therapy (you sleep a few hours a night and then increase it slightly over time) and/or reconditioning (using your bed for sleeping and sexual activity and nothing else, like reading, eating, etc.) may be employed to change your sleep habit(s).

The Trinitas Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center stands ready to help you determine if you have Insomnia and, if you do, to provide you with whatever solutions work best in your particular case. We're experienced in Sleep Medicine and we look forward to helping each and every patient achieve the best possible result. Call us at (908) 994-8694 or email us at for more information or to arrange an appointment.