by EBSCO Medical Review Board

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health.

To make a diagnosis of insomnia, the doctor will ask about:

  • Excessive tiredness or daytime sleepiness
  • Problems with attention, focus, or memory
  • Social, work, or school problems
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Low motivation or energy
  • Many errors or accidents at work, or while driving
  • Possible related symptoms such as headaches or digestive issues
  • Worries about sleep

The doctor will look for possible causes, such as:

  • Moods or mood changes
  • Physical or mental symptoms or problems
  • Daily activities
  • Work pattern or history
  • Sleep patterns and snoring
  • Medicine use
  • Travel patterns
  • Eating habits
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

A sleep diary can be kept to record sleep patterns.

If the diagnosis is not clear, the doctor may order a polysomnogram (sleep study). Sleep is analyzed during a 1 or 2 night stay in a sleep lab.


Insomnia. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2022.

Insomnia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2022

Insomnia. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2022.

Insomnia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2022.

Patel D, Steinberg J, Patel P. Insomnia in the elderly: a review. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(6):1017-1024.

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