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Insomnia Diagnostic Methods and Treatment Options

What is insomnia
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more

Not being able to sleep happens to everybody occasionally, but people with insomnia have to deal with severe complications and troubles. Some insomniac people find it difficult to fall asleep and have extended sleep latency periods, while others may find it hard to stay asleep.

Insomnia can be diagnosed if symptoms show up at least 5 times a week. In this case, getting insomnia treatment is crucial to carrying out everyday life. Keep reading this blog to learn more about insomnia, its types, causes, diagnostic measures, and, most importantly, the best insomnia treatment options.

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What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia Definition

Insomnia is a mental condition in which an individual cannot fall asleep, stay asleep, or have a good sleep quality. Because of these issues, people are not relaxed enough, and their brain is not revitalized to perform their daily activities effectively. Being one of the common sleep disorders in America, insomnia comes with a baggage of more serious physical ailments, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal weight gain.

Common Symptoms of Insomnia

  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Inability to stay asleep
  • Waking up frequently
  • Waking up too early and not sleeping enough
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inattentiveness and lack of focus
  • Memory deficits
  • Excessive worries and procrastination
  • Increased chances of errors

What Are the Types of Insomnia?

Insomnia has various categories. The most common classifications used and the main types of this disorder are explained below.

Classification 1

Acute Insomnia Chronic Insomnia

Acute insomnia typically lasts from a single night to a few weeks.

Chronic insomnia is more persistent and severe. It usually occurs up to three nights a week for at least three months.

Classification 2

Primary Insomnia Secondary Insomnia

Primary means that your sleep disorder is not linked to other physical ailments.

Secondary insomnia is a condition when your sleep disorder is due to other underlying health issues such as depression, asthma, arthritis, etc.

Some different types of insomnia include:

  • Sleep maintenance insomnia. In this case, you cannot sleep for a longer duration or at least for optimal hours and keep waking all night.
  • Paradoxical insomnia. This type of insomnia is characterized by the inability to perceive the right amount of time you sleep. You always feel like sleeping less than the hours you should be sleeping.
  • Sleep onset insomnia. This simply means that you have long sleep latency periods or are unable to fall asleep.
  • Mixed insomnia. This type of insomnia is characterized by trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

What Is the Leading Cause of Insomnia?

The common causes of insomnia are divided into two categories:

Primary Reasons Secondary Reasons
  • Positive family history and genetics
  • External stressors and triggers such as loud noise, bad lighting, and uncomfortable temperature
  • Jet lag
  • Change of work routine
  • Major changes in sleep routine
  • Stressful life events such as deaths, losing a job, accidents, etc.
  • Using excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain syndrome
  • Medications for flu, cold, pulmonary issues, high blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Dementia
  • Pregnancy
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Menopause

Professional help and consultations can help you get a good night’s sleep. Break the cycle of insomnia with professional treatment.

Methods of Diagnosing Insomnia

Unfortunately, there is no standard diagnostic test for insomnia. The only legit way to get a confirmed insomnia diagnosis is getting help from a certified mental health expert. However, depending on the situation, the standard diagnostic methods for insomnia are as follows:

  • Physical Examination

A mental health therapist will conduct a detailed physical exam and analyze your signs and symptoms related to insomnia. You will be asked several questions and might also be screened for other health conditions such as diabetes, thyroid issues, etc.

  • Blood and Other Lab Tests

Your mental health professional might want you to undergo some basic or specific blood tests, like checking electrolyte levels, urea, and others. This will help to rule out any other possible conditions which may be the primary cause behind your insomnia.

  • Sleep Study Review

These are certain sleep studies known as ‘polysomnograms’ that are not compulsory but might add clarity to the diagnosis by ruling out other sleep issues such as sleep apnea, night terror, etc.

  • Revision of Sleep Habits

Unhealthy sleep habits and sleep hygiene are prominent risk factors for developing insomnia. That is why your therapist might also ask you to fill out some self-questionnaire forms about your sleep-wake cycle, daytime sleepiness, and total sleep latency period.

Get a legit insomnia diagnosis from our certified mental health experts.

Causes of insomnia

How to Treat Insomnia?

Short-term insomnia does not require any prolonged treatments and usually resolves independently. Still, on the contrary, you must get insomnia help from a mental health professional for chronic symptoms. Considering your condition’s severity, your practitioner may recommend the following insomnia treatment options: medication, therapy, or both.

Insomnia Medication

Prescription medication is usually given for a concise duration, and doctors do not usually rely on the medication alone. The following drugs are offered in conjunction with other treatment interventions such as therapy.

  • Zaleplon (Sonata)
  • Ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • Doxepin (Silenor)
  • Lemborexant (Dayvigo)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)

Note: Any type of medication should only be prescribed and taken under the strict supervision of a certified mental health expert. Any side effects and adverse reactions should be promptly reported to the physician.

What Therapy Is Best for Insomnia?

Therapy is one of the evidence-based interventions widely used for the treatment of insomnia. There are various types of therapies that can effectively minimize the symptoms of this condition, out of which cognitive behavioral therapy is thought to be best. Moreover, there is a specific type of this method called CBTI — Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.

How can CBTI help insomnia?

CBTI helps patients to correct their negative thought patterns and eliminate procrastination as these problems usually keep a person from sleeping easily. During sessions, people can recognize their stressors, triggers, and root causes of overthinking and excessive worries. Effective strategies of CBTI are as follows:

  • Relaxation techniques. These techniques help to keep the bedtime anxiety away. Standard relaxation exercises include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and biofeedback.
  • Light therapy. It can be used to fix your internal clock and correct your sleeping and waking up timings.
  • Paradoxical inattention. This is another approach to controlling anxiety and worries that interfere with your sleep.
  • Stimulus control therapy. You are trained to follow a good sleep routine by avoiding any external and internal factors that might delay your sleep, such as taking naps in the waking hours.

The Bottom Line

If you are suffering from the symptoms and complications of sleeplessness, then it is high time that you get professional insomnia treatment. Insomnia could be of various types and intensities, and the treatment plan also varies from one person to another. The symptoms of insomnia tend to interfere with the normal function of a person, so join MEDvidi today to recover a good quality of sleep.

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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.