Insomnia is a disruption in the ability to obtain adequate sleep time, despite dedicating sufficient time for sleep. Most people require at least 7 hours of restful sleep to function normally during the day. Insomnia causes a reduction in sleep efficiency, which means that the total sleep time is not close to the total time in bed. This results in daytime sleepiness. There are two major categories of this disorder: sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia. There are many causes of poor sleep efficiency. Recent studies have shown that addressing the causes of sleep disturbance through cognitive and behavioral therapy can have a significant impact on improving sleep. In many cases, therapy is as effective, if not more effective, than sleeping pills.
Insomnia can be evaluated and diagnosed through a combination of patient history and the use of Actigraphy, which measures activity and rest. The Actigraph is a 14 day monitor of sleep patterns that can provide critical information to the sleep physician, helping in the treatment process.