The best way to diagnose insomnia is with a combination of different methods. This includes asking questions about your medical history, personal circumstances, sleep patterns, symptoms, and other pertinent information. You may be recommended to have certain tests done to rule out any other conditions that might cause or contribute to your insomnia.
What tests are used to diagnose insomnia?
No tests can diagnose insomnia, and tests rule out other conditions that may have symptoms similar to insomnia. These are the most common tests:
- A sleep apnea test involves an overnight sleep study in a lab ( Polysomnography) or an at-home sleep screening device.
- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).
Other tests may also be possible, depending on your symptoms or other factors. Your healthcare provider will be able to recommend the most appropriate tests for you.
MANAGEMENT & TREATMENT
Is there a way to treat insomnia?
Many options for treating insomnia include simple lifestyle changes and medication. These are the main methods for treating insomnia:
- Practice good sleeping habits, also known as sleep hygiene.
- Medications to help you fall asleep or stay asleep (especially if they aren’t habit-forming, or might otherwise affect your sleeping patterns).
- Mental healthcare.
You can fall asleep or stay asleep with medication.
Many medications can help you fall asleep or stay asleep. These medications include prescription and nonprescription sedative and hypnotic drugs, mental health medications, and certain herbs and supplements.
Sedative drugs – These are named after a Latin term that means “to settle.” They lower nervous system activity.
Your healthcare provider will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment options and the ones they recommend. Your healthcare provider is also the best source for information regarding side effects and complications of treatments.
Although the following information includes examples of medication, it only includes some possible treatments. Remembering that not all insomnia medications are the same would be best. You may be able to interact with other medications, as well as your age and general health.
It would be best to remember that although medications may help you fall asleep, they can also disrupt your sleep cycle. It is important to get good sleep quality and not quantity. This means you should be cautious when taking any medication, even over the counter.
Prescription drugs for insomnia
Many prescription drugs can be used to treat insomnia. Some medications may have restrictions based on where you live.
These are the controlled drug types:
- Benzodiazepines: These include estazolam and quazepam(Doral(r), temazepam(Restoril(r), and triazolam(Halcion(r).
- “Z drugs” (experts often lump these with benzodiazepines despite their names): The most popular are eszopiclone, Zaleplon, and Zolpidem.
- Dual Orexin Receptor Antagons (DORAs), Orexin is a brain-wake-inducing chemical. Blocking orexin helps make you sleepy. These include suvorexant(Belsomra (r), lemborexant(Dayvigo (r),) and daridorexant(Quviviq (r)).
- Antiseizure medicines: These include Gabapentin(Neurontin(r)) and Pregabalin(Lyrica(r),) which can be used to treat conditions such as restless leg syndrome.
These are non-controlled drugs types:
- Sedating antidepressants include tricyclic antidepressant drugs (TCA), such as doxepin(Silenor(r),) and amitriptyline(Elavil(r),)) and trauma is done.
- Melatonin (and related drugs): The chemical that your brain uses to tell you when it’s time for sleep is called melatonin. You can buy it in prescription strength, but you can also get lower strength over-the-counter. Synthetic drugs can also be used in a similar way to melatonin. These include Ramelteon (Rozerem(r).
*NOTE: Do not exceed the recommended daily intake of melatonin. You should consult your healthcare provider before taking any additional melatonin; anything above 10 mg may cause harm.
Nonprescription drugs for insomnia
You can become sleepy from antihistamine medications used to treat allergies. Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in drugs such as Benadryl(r) and doxylamine (commonly referred to under the brand Unisom(r), are two examples.
Supplements and herbs
Insomnia can be treated with many herbs and supplements. Although many of these well-known herbs and supplements, you should not assume they are safe. Before you start taking herbs or supplements, it is important to consult your healthcare provider. This helps avoid side effects and interactions, especially if you have any medical conditions or take other medications.
Mental healthcare can improve your ability to sleep because of how your mental health affects your ability to sleep. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right care and discuss your mental health options.
Is it possible to prevent insomnia?
While some causes of insomnia can be avoided, others may occur for ununderstood reasons. It’s impossible to stop insomnia completely, but there are things you can do that will help you sleep better. (See below under “Living With” for more information on what you can do about insomnia and how it affects your life).
What are my options if I suffer from insomnia?
Insomnia is usually not a serious problem. People who have insomnia can feel tired and unwell the next day. However, this feeling is often relieved when they get enough sleep. Chronic insomnia can be disruptive. Although it isn’t usually dangerous, chronic insomnia can have a disruptive effect on your life.
Talking to a healthcare provider is a smart thing if you are experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation. They will be able to identify possible causes of your sleep problems, and they can offer advice and treatment to help you sleep better.
How long does insomnia last?
A short-term case of insomnia lasts less than three months. Chronic insomnia is more than three months.