How is insomnia diagnosed?

There is no specific test to diagnose insomnia. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions to learn more about your sleep problems and symptoms. The key information for the diagnosis of insomnia is reviewing your sleep history with your doctor. Your provider will also review your medical history and medications you are taking to see if they may be affecting your ability to sleep. You may also:

  • Get a blood test: Your doctor may want you do a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems or low iron levels that can negatively impact sleep.
  • Keep a sleep diary: You may be asked to write down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks (bedtime, wake time, naps, caffeine use, etc.) This information can help your provider identify patterns or behaviors that interfere with rest.
  • Complete a sleep study: Sleep studies (polysomnograms) are not necessary for diagnosing insomnia. If your doctor has concerns that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred. You may go to a sleep disorders center or do the study at home.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/15/2020.

References

  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 10/10/2020.
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. Insomnia. Accessed 10/10/2020.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Accessed 10/10/2020.
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Insomnia. Accessed 10/10/2020.
  • Sleep Foundation. Insomnia. Accessed 10/10/2020.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Insomnia. Accessed 10/10/2020.

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