Diagnosis of Insomnia

Before treating insomnia, your healthcare provider should determine its cause. To do this, he or she will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may be asked questions about your:

  • Mood
  • Physical or mental symptoms or problems
  • Daily activities
  • Work pattern or history
  • Sleep patterns
  • Psychiatric and medical history
  • Travel patterns
  • Eating habits
  • Recreational substance use: alcohol, tobacco, other drugs

You may also be asked to fill out a sleep diary, which is a record of your sleep patterns. Your healthcare provider may want to speak with your bed partner concerning the quantity and quality of your sleep. Other specialized tests may be ordered depending on what your healthcare provider suspects may be the cause of your insomnia.


National Center on Sleep Disorders Research website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/ncsdr/index.htm .

National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/ .

Sleep talk with your doctor. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/site/c.huIXKjM0IxF/b.2421173/k.A325/Sleep_Talk_With_Your_Doctor.htm . Accessed on May 1, 2007.

Your guide to healthy sleep. National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. November 2005. NIH Publication No. 06-5271. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf . Accessed on May 1, 2007 at:

Last reviewed May 2007 by Janet H. Greenhut, MD, MPH

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Your Health and Happiness