We don't like the term 'insomnia' being thrown about - we think it's overused and misunderstood. One night of being unable to sleep is not insomnia. If a cup of hot chocolate is your 'insomnia cure', then you don't have insomnia.
At the same time, we don't want to disrespect anyone who has trouble sleeping. Being unable to sleep can be frustrating, depressing and even dangerous. If you have problems with sleep but don't know if you have a sleep disorder, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Does it take you a long time to fall asleep?
- Do you wake frequently during the night?
- Do you snore loudly or wake up gasping for breath?
- Do you wake up feeling tired and fatigued?
- Do you fall asleep during daily tasks such as driving?
We can't diagnose you with insomnia; that's a doctor's job. However, if you answered yes to any of the above questions it might be a good idea to make an appointment with your physician to discuss whether you're suffering from a sleep disorder.
We'd also recommend that you start keeping a sleep journal - the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders has a good one (downloadable PDF). The US Department of Health and Human Services also has a great guide to healthy sleep (again, a downloadable PDF).
Source: NBC Washington
Last updated: April 22, 2011