Insomnia, which is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up too early, is a problem most of us have experienced. Usually it lasts a few days or weeks, and may be related to increased stress or illness.
But more than 35 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, and most never tell their doctor about it.
Chronic insomnia is often related to psychiatric disorders such as depression or anxiety. Many medical problems can also disrupt sleep, including breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema, obstructive sleep apnea, heart failure, gastroesophageal reflux, chronic pain, and restless legs syndrome.
Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and many commonly used medications can interfere with sleep.
If your sleep has been disturbed for more than a month, talk to your health care provider. Effective treatments are available, including medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy.