The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep is called insomnia. Insomnia, in its chronic form, can last for weeks, months, or even years. It may be related to worry, anxiety, depression, medical/psychiatric problems, or substance abuse. Insomnia is a symptom and in order to treat it the physicians must find the cause. Most insomnia sufferers sleep better after the appropriate evaluation and treatment.


  • Transient insomnia is the inability to sleep over a period of a few nights. Stress or excitement usually causes this type of insomnia. For example the bride may not sleep well the night before the wedding or an athlete may experience some transient insomnia the night before the big meet.
  • Short-term insomnia is caused by periods of high stress at work, school, or daily life and results in two to three weeks of poor sleep. After the stressful period is over, sleep usually returns to normal.
  • Chronic insomnia is characterized by poor sleep most or every night. Most chronic insomnia is caused by physical ailment such as breathing disorders and muscle activity.


  • Sleeping pills, taken for a limited time usually no more than 3 weeks, can help in certain cases in treating short term and chronic insomnia.
  • Good sleep habits.