Insomnia | Diagnosis & Tests


What can my doctor do to find out why I'm not sleeping?

Your family doctor may ask you some questions about your sleep habits (such as when you go to bed and when you get up), what medicines you take, and your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Your doctor may also ask if you smoke.

Your doctor may ask how long you've been having insomnia and if you have any pain (such as from arthritis). If you have a bed partner, your doctor may ask him or her if you snore while you sleep. Your doctor may also ask about events or problems in your life that may be upsetting you and making it hard for you to sleep.

What is a sleep diary?

If the cause of your insomnia is not clear, your doctor may suggest that you fill out a sleep diary. The diary will help you keep track of when you go to bed, how long you are in bed before falling asleep, how often you wake up during the night, when you get up in the morning and how well you sleep. A sleep diary may help you and your doctor identify patterns and conditions that are affecting your sleep.


Nonpharmacologic Management of Chronic Insomnia by Parul Harsora, MD and Jennifer Kessmann, MD (American Family Physician January 15, 2009,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 07/96