Frequently Asked Questions

Talk to your health care professional about what you’re experiencing. Also, take a look at your sleep habits. Some of your habits may be unintentionally stimulating your wake system and encouraging it to stay active when it’s time for bed. If you’d like some help analyzing your sleep habits, here’s a quiz you might take to better understand your habits and how they could be stimulating your wake system.

Many things may cause insomnia. Several studies of insomnia have focused on a person’s behavior as the cause, but studies have shown that neurotransmitter activity in the sleep and wake systems can play a key role as well. Talk to your health care professional about what may be causing your insomnia.

The two systems that affect your ability to sleep are your wake system and your sleep system. The wake system sends signals that help you wake up in the morning and stay awake during the day. The sleep system sends signals that help you fall and stay asleep at night, but if your wake system stays active when it isn’t supposed to, your sleep system may not be able to take over.

If your wake system refuses to reduce signaling when it’s time for bed, even though it’s time for your sleep system to take over, your brain may be in an overactive state and insomnia may be a result.

Yes. Some behaviors and environmental factors are believed to specifically stimulate activity in your wake system and can contribute to your inability to sleep.

Insomnia generally does not go away without treatment. Treatment may include: making changes in your life, taking medication, or both. Insomnia is a serious health condition, so don’t put it off — talk to your health care professional about ways to manage your insomnia.

Here are some terms used to describe insomnia:

Acute insomnia: Short-term insomnia usually caused by a life event, such as a stressful change in a person's job, receiving bad news, or travel.

Chronic insomnia: Long-term insomnia. Insomnia is considered chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least 3 nights per week for 3 months or longer.

Comorbid insomnia: Insomnia that occurs with another condition.

Onset insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.

Maintenance insomnia: Waking up frequently throughout the night and having trouble returning back to sleep.

While insomnia is sometimes a symptom of problems with your health, it is a condition in its own right and may be associated with other health issues including, but not limited to, psychiatric, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal disorders. The best thing you can do is talk to your health care professional and learn all that you can to take care of your insomnia.

Yes. Talk to your health care professional if you think any medicines you’re taking may be affecting your ability to sleep. You should not discontinue a medication without first discussing it with your doctor.

Take the next step and talk to your doctor about ways to manage your insomnia. Take the next step and talk to your doctor about ways to manage your insomnia.

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