Sleep Medicine Services

Insomnia is a common condition in which you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Insomnia causes you to get too little sleep or to suffer from poor quality sleep. Insomnia may be a short or long term problem.

Being unable to get quality sleep at least three nights a week for more than a month is called chronic insomnia. It can cause:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy.
  • Anxiety, depression or irritability.
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering.

Secondary insomnia

The most common type of insomnia is called secondary or co-morbid insomnia. In this instance, insomnia is a symptom or side effect of some other problem. It may be caused by medicines or substances you are taking (caffeine, for example) or other medical problems. In over 80 percent of insomnia sufferers, there are secondary causes that contribute to insomnia.

Primary insomnia

Primary insomnia isn't due to a medical problem, medicines, or other substances and is its own disorder. A number of life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset. There are several ways to diagnose insomnia:

  • Physical exam. A sleep specialist will take your medical history and conduct a complete physical exam. This will help determine whether insomnia is caused by an underlying medical condition.
  • Sleep log. You may be asked to keep a daily sleep log. In it you will record how easy it is to fall and stay asleep, how much sleep you get at night, and how alert you feel during the day.
  • Sleep studyIf the cause of insomnia is uncertain, your physician may refer you to a specialist at one of the three Riverside Centers for Sleep Medicine where a sleep study may be conducted