Insomnia can exhibit itself in a number of ways, such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early, before you are ready to get up for the day.

Elderly woman sitting on edge of the bed while elderly man sleeps in bed

There are three basic types of insomnia:

  • Transient: Trouble sleeping for a few nights. Most everyone has experienced an episode of transient insomnia.
  • Short-term: Problems going to sleep or staying asleep for 2-3 weeks
  • Chronic: Insomnia or poor sleep that lasts 3 weeks or more

Treatment for insomnia

Treatment for insomnia first and foremost is taking a look at your sleep habits. Many people sleep poorly because they have poor sleep habits. Here are some suggestions for good sleep hygiene:

  • Try to sleep only when you're drowsy.
  • If you’re unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere. Do not permit yourself to fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed when — and only when — you are sleepy. Repeat this process as often as necessary throughout the night.
  • Maintain a regular arise time, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. Keep your cell phone and laptop out of your bedroom as well.
  • Avoid napping during the daytime. If daytime sleepiness becomes overwhelming, limit nap time to a single nap of less than one hour, no later than 3 p.m.
  • Distract your mind. Try reading or listening to books on tape. It may be necessary to go into another room to do these. Try to use low lighting while out of bed, as not to stimulate your body clock into thinking that it is morning.
  • Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid the use of nicotine close to bedtime or during the night.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages four to six hours before bedtime.
  • A light snack before bedtime can promote sound sleep, but avoid large meals.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise six hours before bedtime.
  • Minimize light, noise, and extreme temperatures in the bedroom.