If you've made efforts to improve your sleep schedule and habits, and it doesn't seem to be working, contact a doctor. You could be suffering from a sleep disorder, or your trouble sleeping could be a symptom of another medical condition. Here is a short list of sleep disorders:
Short-term insomnia is very common, and can be induced by a poor diet, jet lag, or something as simple as stress. Long-term insomnia can be a symptom of another medical disorder, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or depression.
Sleep apnea-or more colloquially, snoring-is caused by interrupted breathing during sleep. The windpipe can collapse while the person attempts to inhale, and their breathing can be blocked from 10 seconds to a minute. Mild sleep apnea can be overcome in some cases through weight loss. No one with sleep apnea should take sedatives to help them sleep; this would be dangerous as they may needs to wake up in order to breathe.
Restless Leg Syndrome
This is often a familial disorder. It's characterized by a prickling sensation in the legs that requires movement to find relief. It is more common among older patients.
Narcolepsy is also often hereditary. Stimulants or antidepressants can help prevent "sleep attacks." A narcolepsy gene has been identified in dogs, and there are hopes that it can be used to find a cure for humans.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention