II. Causes

III. Risk Factors

  1. Advancing age
    1. Incidence as high as 65% by age 65 years old
  2. Female gender
    1. Twice as common as in males
    2. More common with sex hormone changes (third trimester pregnancy, Menopause)
  3. Living alone
  4. Comorbid mental health condition
    1. Anxiety Disorder
    2. Major Depression
    3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  5. Comorbid medical conditions
    1. Heart Failure
    2. Respiratory disease
    3. Neurologic disorders
    4. Chronic Pain
  6. Substance Abuse
    1. Alcoholism or Alcohol Withdrawal
    2. Opioid Abuse or Opioid Withdrawal
    3. Tobacco abuse
  7. Life stressors
    1. Death in family or widowed
    2. Divorce or marital separation
    3. Unemployed or lower socioeconomic status

IV. History: General

  1. Timing
    1. Duration: Transient Insomnia (<7 days), acute Insomnia (7-30 days) or chronic Insomnia (>30 days)
      1. Chronic Insomnia is best treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    2. Frequency: Occasional (weekly or less) or frequently to daily
      1. Occasional Insomnia may be best treated with as needed Sedative-Hypnotics
    3. Variation with weekend versus weekday
      1. Distinguish Delayed Sleep Phase syndrome from Insomnia
  2. Sleep Hygiene related behaviors
    1. Sleep environment (Sleep Hygiene related issues)
    2. Activities before sleep (e.g. Exercise, dinner)
    3. Sleep habits and history of problems (e.g. napping)
  3. Comorbid conditions
    1. See Organic Insomnia
    2. Substance use (Alcohol, Illicit Drugs)
    3. Limb Movement Disorders (e.g. Restless Leg Syndrome)
    4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (e.g. loud snoring, daytime Somnolence)
    5. Psychiatric Illness (Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Excessive Worry, Anxiety Disorder)
    6. Substance use or abuse (e.g. Caffeine, Alcohol)
    7. Stressful life events (e.g. divorce, serious illness or death in family, unemployment)
    8. Chronic Pain

V. History: Sleep diary

  1. Keep 2 week sleep log
  2. Times
    1. Bedtime, Awakening and total time in bed
    2. Sleep onset latency (time before falling asleep)
    3. Total time asleep
    4. Naps (number, time of day and duration)
    5. Number of nighttime awakenings
  3. Symptoms
    1. How well rested on awakening?
    2. How tired during the day (1=very tired, 5=wide awake)
    3. Irritability (1=none, 5=high)
  4. Predisposing Factors
    1. Number of drinks containing Alcohol
    2. Medications taken
    3. Stressors
  5. Resources
    1. Sleep Diary Chart (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)
      1. http://yoursleep.aasmnet.org/pdf/sleepdiary.pdf
    2. Sleep Diary Chart (Center for Deployment Psychology)
      1. http://deploymentpsych.org/system/files/member_resource/CDP%20Sleep%20Diary.pdf

VI. Exam

VII. Diagnosis

  1. Complaints consistent with Insomnia (one or more)
    1. Difficulty initiating sleep
    2. Difficulty maintaining sleep (or poor quality sleep)
    3. Early awakening
  2. Daytime Impairment due to Insomnia (one or more)
    1. Impaired memory, concentration, attention
    2. Excessive Worry about sleep
    3. Daytime Somnolence, Fatigue, or malaise
    4. Depressed mood, irritability or poor motivation
    5. Accidents or errors while working or driving
    6. Poor work or school performance
    7. Tension Headaches or gastrointestinal upset
  3. Frequency
    1. At least 3 times weekly
  4. Duration
    1. Transient Insomnia: <7 days
    2. Acute Insomnia: <30 days
    3. Chronic Insomnia: 30 days or more
  5. Subtypes based on cause
    1. Primary Insomnia (no cause): <20% of chronic cases
      1. Difficult sleep despite adequate conditions and opportunity
      2. No other sleep disorder (e.g. Sleep Apnea)
    2. Comorbid Insomnia (Organic Insomnia)
      1. Insomnia secondary to other cause (medication, medical condition)

VIII. Management: Non-Pharmacologic

  1. Consider written sleep plan
  2. Lifestyle changes
    1. See Sleep Hygiene
    2. Regular Exercise (6 hours before bedtime)
  3. Cognitive behavior therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
    1. Preferred first-line management
    2. Combines techniques
      1. Sleep Stimulus Control therapy
      2. Sleep Restriction Therapy
      3. Paradoxical intention (stay awake to reduce anxiety about not falling asleep)
      4. Replace dysfunctional beliefs about sleep (e.g. hours of sleep needed per night)
      5. Typically also includes Sleep Hygiene and Relaxation Techniques as adjunctive measures
    3. Refocuses attention on positive factors
      1. Turns off cycle: worrying about not sleeping
    4. Highly effective with long lasting effects (>2 years) when compared to medications (e.g. Ambien)
      1. Jacobs (2004) Arch Intern Med 164:1888-96 [PubMed]
      2. Trauer (2015) Ann Intern Med 163(3): 191-204 [PubMed]
      3. Morin (2015) Ann Intern Med 163(3): 236-7 [PubMed]
  4. Specific Techniques
    1. See Sleep Hygiene
    2. See Sleep Stimulus Control therapy
    3. See Sleep Restriction Therapy
    4. Relaxation Techniques
      1. See Relaxation Training
      2. See Progressive Relaxation

IX. Management: Pharmacologic General Approach

  1. Start with non-pharmacologic measures as above
  2. Approach pharmacologic management based on Insomnia type
    1. Sleep-onset Insomnia (prolonged sleep latency)
      1. Melatonin (controlled release)
      2. Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
      3. Zaleplon (Sonata)
      4. Zolpidem (Ambien)
    2. Sleep-maintenance Insomnia
      1. Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
      2. Zolpidem (Ambien)
      3. Doxepin (Silenor)
    3. Insomnia in older adults
      1. Doxepin (Silenor)
      2. Melatonin (controlled release)
      3. Ramelteon (Rozerem)
    4. Insomnia with comorbid Major Depression
      1. Doxepin (Silenor)
      2. Mirtazapine (Remeron)

X. Management: Sedative-Hypnotic Drugs

  1. Precautions
    1. Exercise caution in the elderly due to Delirium, falls, Fractures and MVA risks (on Beers List)
      1. Avoid Benzodiazepines and Benzodiazepine analogs (e.g. Zolpidem) for longer than 3 months use
      2. (2013) Presc Lett 20(6): 33
    2. On average, Sedative-Hypnotics extend sleep time by only 30 minutes per night
    3. Even infrequent use of Sedative-Hypnotics increases mortality risk three-fold over baseline
      1. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000850
    4. Sedative-Hypnotic prescriptions increased 4 fold between 1999 and 2010
      1. Consider non-pharmacologic alternatives
      2. Ford (2014) Sleep 37(8): 1283-93 [PubMed]
  2. Mechanism
    1. Sedative-Hypnotics bind GABA receptors which in turn inhibit central Neurons and their excitability
    2. Result in Sedation, anxiolysis, muscle relaxation and retrograde amnesia
    3. Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (e.g. Ambien) selectively bind Sedation-related GABA subunits
  3. Indications: Short term Insomnia treatment
    1. Avoid use more than 3 weeks
    2. Start with lowest effective dose
    3. Taper slowly if longer use
  4. Contraindications
    1. Pregnancy and Lactation
    2. Sleep Apnea
    3. COPD
    4. Severe liver disease
    5. Severe Chronic Kidney Disease
  5. Adverse Effects (esp. Benzodiazepines)
    1. Daytime Somnolence
    2. Amnesia
    3. Early morning Insomnia
    4. Daytime anxiety and confusion
    5. Ataxia and falls in elderly
    6. Bioaccumulation in liver and Kidney disease (esp. elderly) with increased adverse effects
    7. Associated with decreased deep sleep time and secondary Fatigue (esp. with longterm use)
    8. Benzodiazepine Dependence
    9. Parasomnias (esp. higher at doses)
  6. Preparations: Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonists
    1. Short-acting agents
      1. Zolpidem (Ambien) 5 to 10 mg
        1. Used for initiating sleep and sleep maintenance
        2. Onset: 7 to 27 minutes
        3. Half-life: 2 to 3 hours
      2. Zaleplon (Sonata) 5 to 20 mg
        1. Primarily effective for sleep latency (not sleep maintenance)
        2. May be helpful in early night awakening (4 hour duration)
        3. Onset: 30 minutes
        4. Half-life: 1 hour
    2. Longer-acting agents (better sleep maintenance)
      1. Eszopiclone (Lunesta) 1 to 3 mg
        1. Associated with Dysgeusia in up to one third of patients
        2. Onset: 10 minutes
        3. Half-life: 5 to 7 hours
      2. Zolpidem CR (Ambien CR) 6.25 to 12.5 mg
        1. Unlikely to offer significant benefit over standard Zolpidem in sleep maintenance
        2. Onset: 30 minutes
        3. Half-life: 3 to 4.5 hours
  7. Preparations: Benzodiazepines
    1. Temazepam (Restoril) 7.5 to 30 mg
      1. Onset: 30-60 minutes
      2. Half-life: 8-15 hours
    2. Estazolam (Prosom) 0.5 to 2 mg
      1. Onset: 120 minutes
      2. Half-life: 10-24 hours
    3. Triazolam (Halcion) 0.125 to 0.25 mg
      1. Onset: 15-30 min
      2. Half-life: 2-5 hours

XI. Management: Tricyclic Antidepressants

  1. Indications: Insomnia with comorbidity
    1. Major Depression
    2. Bruxism
    3. Fibrositis
    4. Hyperactivity history
  2. Adverse effects
    1. Anticholinergic side effects are common
    2. Long half lives lead to hangover effect in AM
  3. Mechanism
    1. Likely related to Antihistamine and Anticholinergic related Sedation
  4. Preparations
    1. Doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan, Silenor) 3 to 6 mg orally at bedtime
      1. Only Tricyclic Antidepressant FDA approved for Insomnia
    2. Trazodone (Desyrel) 50 to 150 mg at bedtime
    3. Amitriptyline (Elavil) 25 to 100 mg at bedtime
      1. Avoid Elavil in elderly (Anticholinergic effects)
    4. Mirtazipine (Remeron) 15-45 mg daily

XII. Management: Antihistamines (not recommended)

  1. Indications
    1. Insomnia in pregnancy (other agents are contraindicated in pregnancy)
  2. Adverse effects
    1. Anticholinergic adverse effects
    2. Paradoxical CNS agitation may occur
    3. Exacerbates Restless Leg Syndrome
  3. Preparations
    1. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 to 50 mg at bedtime
    2. Doxylamine (Unisom) 12.5 to 25 mg at bedtime
    3. Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) 25 to 100 mg at bedtime

XIII. Management: Atypical Antipsychotics

  1. Precautions
    1. Avoid use for Insomnia (numerous adverse effects, and poor evidence for benefit)
  2. Adverse effects
    1. Numerous (see Antipsychotics)
  3. Indications
    1. Refractory Insomnia
  4. Preparations
    1. Olanzapine (Zyprexa) 2.5 mg at bedtime (max: 20 mg)
    2. Quetiapine (Seroquel) 50 mg at bedtime (max: 400 mg)
    3. Risperidone (Risperdal) 0.25 mg at bedtime (max: 6 mg)

XIV. Management: Herbals

  1. Melatonin
    1. Helpful in initiating sleep, not in maintaining sleep (extending sleep duration)
    2. Night Shift Workers
      1. Start with 3 mg prior to daytime sleep (may increase to 5 mg)
    3. Sleep onset Insomnia
      1. Start with 3 mg at 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime (may increase to 5 mg)
  2. Ramelteon (Rozerem)
    1. Melatonin receptor agonist
    2. May be more effective in shifted sleep phase
  3. Valerian Root

XV. Management: Bright Light Exposure

  1. Mechanism
    1. Bright lights reset circadian rhythm
    2. Bright light sources
      1. Outdoor light
      2. Light box
  2. Indications
    1. Delayed Sleep Phase
      1. Young adults who do not get sleepy until midnight
      2. Use bright light in early morning (6 to 7 am)
    2. Early Sleep phase
      1. Elderly have onset of Tiredness at 6 pm
      2. Use bright light in late afternoon

XVI. Management: Anti-Seizure medications

  1. Indications
    1. Intermittent Insomnia
    2. Insomnia with comorbid depression
    3. Insomnia with comorbid Restless Legs Syndrome
  2. Efficacy
    1. Improves total sleep time by 46 to 64 minutes per day
      1. Dooley (2007) Trends Pharmacol Sci 28(2): 75-82 [PubMed]
  3. Preparations
    1. Gabapentin (Neurontin) 300-600 mg orally at bedtime
    2. Pregabalin (Lyrica) 50 mg orally at bedtime (up to 300 mg at bedtime)

XVII. Complications

  1. Neurocognitive effects
    1. Decreased concentration
    2. Decreased memory
    3. Altered behavior
    4. Decreased work performance and increased absenteeism
    5. Increased motor vehicle accidents and work accidents
    6. Cognitive decline in over age 65 years (especially men)
      1. Insomnia is an independent risk factor
      2. Cricco (2001) J Am Geriatr Soc 49:1185-9 [PubMed]
  2. Psychiatric effects
    1. Overall quality of life reduced
    2. Increased Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression
    3. Substance Abuse and relapse
  3. Other associated conditions
    1. Cardiovascular Disease (e.g. Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease)
    2. Decreased immune function (increased infection risk)

XVIII. Resources: Non-medical Books

  1. Bishop (2000) Hello Midnight: Insomniac's ... Companion
    1. Paid link to Amazon.com (ISBN 0684848341)

Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)

Related Studies (from Trip Database) Open in New Window

Ontology: Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders (C0021603)

Definition (MSH) Disorders characterized by impairment of the ability to initiate or maintain sleep. This may occur as a primary disorder or in association with another medical or psychiatric condition.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D007319
ICD10 G47.0
SnomedCT 194437008
English Disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep [insomnias], Disordr/initiat&maintain sleep, SLEEP INITIATION MAINTENANCE DIS, DIS INITIATING MAINTAINING SLEEP, disorders of initiating or maintaining sleep, DIMS (Disorders of Initiating and Maintaining Sleep), Disorders of Initiating and Maintaining Sleep, Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders, Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders [Disease/Finding], disorder of initiating and maintaining sleep, disorder of initiating and maintaining sleep (diagnosis), Disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep, Disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep (disorder), initiating or maintaining sleep; sleep disorder, sleep disorder; initiating or maintaining sleep
Swedish Insomningsproblem och tidigt uppvaknade
Czech poruchy iniciace a udržování spánku
Finnish Unettomuus
Russian BESSONNITSA, ИНСОМНИЯ, INSOMNIIA, SNA NACHALA I PRODOLZHENIIA RASSTROISTVA, СНА НАЧАЛА И ПРОДОЛЖЕНИЯ РАССТРОЙСТВА, НАРУШЕНИЕ СПОСОБНОСТИ НАЧИНАТЬ И ПОДДЕРЖИВАТЬ СОН, NARUSHENIE SPOSOBNOSTI NACHINAT' I PODDERZHIVAT' SON, ASOMNIIA, АСОМНИЯ, БЕССОННИЦА
German Ein- und Durchschlafstoerungen, Einschlafstörungen und Durchschlafstörungen, Ein- und Durchschlafstörungen
Japanese 不眠, 睡眠導入障害, 睡眠導入障害と睡眠維持障害, 睡眠維持障害, 不眠症
Spanish Trastornos del Inicio y del Mantenimiento del Sueño, Trastornos de la Iniciación y Mantención del Sueño, trastorno para iniciar y mantener el sueño (trastorno), trastorno para iniciar y mantener el sueño, Trastornos de la Mantención e Inicio del Sueño
Italian DIMS (Disturbi dell'inizio e conservazione del sonno), Disturbi dell'inizio e conservazione del sonno
Korean 수면 개시 및 유지 장애[불면증]
Polish Zaburzenia ciągłości snu, Asomnia, Zaburzenia zasypiania, Bezsenność
Norwegian Innsovnings- og for tidlig oppvåkningsforstyrrelser
Dutch in- of doorslapen; slaapstoornis, slaapstoornis; in- of doorslapen, Inslaap- en doorslaapstoornissen [insomnia], Inslaap- en doorslaapstoornis, Inslaap- en doorslaapstoornissen, Stoornis, Inslaap- en doorslaap-, Stoornissen, inslaap- en doorslaap-
French Troubles de l'endormissement et du maintien du sommeil, Troubles de l'initiation et du maintien du sommeil
Portuguese Distúrbios do Início e da Manutenção do Sono

Ontology: Sleeplessness (C0917801)

Definition (MEDLINEPLUS)

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. If you have it, you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, you may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. You may not feel refreshed when you wake up.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Lying awake for a long time before you fall asleep
  • Sleeping for only short periods
  • Being awake for much of the night
  • Feeling as if you haven't slept at all
  • Waking up too early

Your doctor will diagnose insomnia based on your medical and sleep histories and a physical exam. He or she also may recommend a sleep study. A sleep study measures how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems. Treatments include lifestyle changes, counseling, and medicines.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Definition (NCI_CTCAE) A disorder characterized by difficulty in falling asleep and/or remaining asleep.
Definition (NCI_NCI-GLOSS) Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.
Definition (NCI) A sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in falling asleep and/or remaining asleep.
Concepts Sign or Symptom (T184)
MSH D007319
ICD9 780.52
ICD10 G47.0 , G47.00
SnomedCT 274233003, 206749008, 139485005, 158152008, 62577008, 230484002, 158149000, 191996007, 267172002, 270478005, 270961006, 268775007, 154927001, 162201008, 206746001, 193462001
English Insomnia, Insomnias, SLEEPLESSNESS, Insomnia NOS, [D]Insomnia NOS, Insomnia - symptom, [D]Insomnia (context-dependent category), [D]Insomnia NOS (context-dependent category), [D]Insomnia - symptom, INSOMNIA DIS, [D]Insomnia, insomnia (symptom), insomnia, Insomnia Disorder, Insomnia Disorders, INSOMNIA, Insomnia, unspecified, sleeplessness, Cannot sleep - insomnia, [D]Insomnia NOS (situation), [D]Insomnia (situation), Insomnia [D], Insomnia NOS (disorder), Insomnia symptom, Insomnia: [transient] or [NOS] (disorder), Insomnia: [transient] or [NOS], sleep disorder insomnia, insomnia disorder (diagnosis), insomnia disorder, Insomnia (disorder), Insomnia, NOS, Insomnia (disorder) [Ambiguous], Insomnia [Ambiguous] (disorder), Sleeplessness
French INSOMNIE, Insomnie SAI, Agrypnie, Insomnie, MANQUE DE SOMMEIL, Trouble insomniaque
Portuguese INSONIA, Insónia NE, FALTA DE SONO, Insónia, Insônia
Spanish INSOMNIO, Insomnio NEOM, Falta de sueño, [D]insomnio, SAI (categoría dependiente del contexto), [D]insomnio (categoría dependiente del contexto), Falta de Sueño, SUENO, FALTA DE, [D]insomnio, SAI (situación), [D]insomnio (situación), [D]insomnio, SAI, insomnio, SAI (trastorno), [D]insomnio, insomnio, SAI, desvelo, insomnio [Ambiguo] (trastorno), insomnio (concepto no activo), insomnio (trastorno), insomnio, Insomnio
Italian Insonnia, Insonnia NAS
Dutch slapeloosheid, insomnia NAO, insomnia, Insomnia, Slapeloosheid
German Schlaflosigkeit NNB, Schlaflosigkeit, INSOMNIA, SCHLAFLOSIGKEIT, Insomnie
Japanese 不眠, 不眠症NOS, 不眠症, フミンショウ, フミン, フミンショウNOS
Czech insomnie, nespavost, Insomnie, Nespavost, Insomnie NOS
Hungarian Insomnia, Insomnia k.m.n., Álmatlanság
Norwegian Søvnløshet