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Services // Sleep Disorders Center


If do not get enough sleep or if the quality of your sleep is poor (you wake frequently or too early), you might have insomnia. Insomnia is a symptom that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.

Insomnia can be:

  • Transient - sleeping poorly for several nights
  • Short-term - sleeping poorly for 2 or 3 weeks
  • Chronic - sleeping poorly every or most nights

Insomnia symptoms include:

  • Problems falling asleep
  • Waking during the night
  • Waking too soon
  • Difficulty maintaining healthy sleep patterns (sleep rhythm disorders)
  • Abnormal behaviors during sleep (sleep-disruptive behaviors)
  • Feeling tired and sleepy during the day
  • Feeling irritable, down, or excessively worried (anxious)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Having accidents
  • Headaches
  • Stomach and intestinal problems, including upset stomach, diarrhea, and constipation
  • Gaining or losing weight

What causes sleep problems?

Although many people suggest emotional stress can cause their long-term inability to sleep (chronic insomnia), data show that almost half of all chronic insomnia results from emotional problems such as depression and anxiety or physical problems such as breathing problems, involuntary limb movements (PLM and RLS), side effects from certain medications, and disturbances with the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). According to the National Sleep Foundation Sleep in American poll, having 1 or more diagnosed medical conditions increases the odds of sleep problems in older adults.

Research shows that difficulty sleeping can result from:

  • Aging, including:
    • Changes in health
    • Being less active
    • Taking medication(s)
    • Changes in sleep patterns, including waking early
  • Changes in your schedule at work, home, or school
  • Emotional disorders, including:
    • Anxiety
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Depression
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Disturbances in the body’s internal clock (abnormal circadian rhythms) from changes in your schedule and activity level, traveling (jet lag), illness, medications, and aging
  • Medical conditions, including:
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Arthritis
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    • Heart disease, heart failure
    • Breathing and lung problems
    • Heart disease
    • Overactive bladder
    • Overactive thyroid
    • Pain
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Stroke
  • Medications, including:
    • Prescription drugs such as:
      • Allergy medications
      • Antidepressants
      • Certain heart and blood pressure drugs
      • Corticosteroids
      • Stimulants such as Ritalin
    • Nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as:
      • Pain medications
      • Decongestants
      • Weight loss drugs
    • Overuse or improper use of prescription and nonprescription sleeping pills
  • Menopause, including hormonal changes and related symptoms such as night sweats
  • Poor sleep habits (poor sleep hygiene), including:
    • An irregular sleep schedule
    • An uncomfortable sleep environment, including one that is too warm, too cold, too noisy, and too bright
    • Activities that stimulate you at bedtime
  • Pregnancy
  • Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Stress from family, work, school, or health problems as well as life events such as job loss, divorce, death, and illness
  • Eating a large or heavy meal before going to sleep that can cause discomfort, heart burn, and acid reflux

Other conditions that can disturb sleep are:

  • Jet lag
  • Klein-Levin syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Nightmares
  • Night terrors
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • Sleep walking (somniloquy)
  • Snoring
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)

The good news is there are steps you can take
to improve your sleep!

Experts at the Sleep Center at Summit Medical Group
can evaluate and treat many sleep problems.

Our behavioral therapy clinicians
can help you better cope with emotional issues
that might contribute to your sleep problems.