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Houston Methodist is a national leader in insomnia diagnosis and treatment. Our integrated sleep medicine experts collaborate to prevent and reverse physical and neurological deficits caused by sleep disorders.

As one of only nine centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Houston Methodist is uniquely positioned to diagnose, treat and cure insomnia. Our board-certified sleep medicine doctors and registered sleep technicians are integrated with our neurology team. 

We combine our expertise in brain, respiratory and cardiac function to develop personalized treatment plans for each patient. Our approach to care — in concert with our dedication to continual sleep medicine research — offers patients with insomnia more pathways to restful, restorative sleep. 

Diagnosing & Treating Insomnia

How is insomnia diagnosed?

Though no specific test confirms insomnia, our sleep medicine specialists are experts in diagnosing insomnia. We typically begin with a discussion of your general wellness. We’ll talk about your stress and anxiety levels, your bedtime routine and what medications you take — all of which can contribute to insufficient sleep. 

In our conversations, patients with insomnia often say they experience symptoms such as: 


  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep 
  • Dreading going to sleep at night 
  • Fatigue throughout the day 
  • Increased irritability or other mood changes 
  • Lack of energy and motivation 
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering  


Next, we will perform a physical examination and blood test to check for underlying conditions that can disrupt sleep, such as a thyroid disease. Then, we may recommend an overnight sleep study, at home or in our hotel-like sleep laboratory, to determine whether another condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea, might be interfering with your rest. 

If your results indicate insomnia, we will discuss with you the various treatment options for your type of insomnia:  


  • Adjustment insomnia – Temporary and brought on by excitement or stress. 
  • Short-term insomnia – Also temporary and lasts four weeks to six months. This type is caused by stress as well. 
  • Chronic insomnia – Lasts longer than six months and is less common. Often, patients who are diagnosed with chronic insomnia actually have another health condition or sleep disorder that disturbs their sleep.  


How is insomnia treated?

If you have an underlying physical or psychiatric condition causing insomnia, it must be treated by a medical specialist in that field. Houston Methodist is an academic medical center — we will streamline a referral to an expert in the care you need. 

If you have temporary insomnia, our sleep specialists can recommend behavioral changes to improve your sleep. Many patients find success with changes such as: 


  • Restricted time in bed – This may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. Lying in bed when you are not tired can lead to more fragmented, less refreshing sleep. Setting a specific time to go to bed and get up, even on weekends, can help you create a healthier sleep pattern.  
  • Stimulus control – To improve the chances of falling asleep quickly, avoid activities such as watching TV, using the computer or working in the bedroom.  
  • Relaxation – Before bed, participate in an activity you find calming, such as reading, bathing, meditating or daydreaming. 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT) – CBT-I helps you pinpoint and address thoughts and actions that prohibit sleep, such as the inability to “shut off” your brain due to stress-related racing thoughts. 


For some patients, medication can help restore restful sleep. Over-the-counter products like melatonin can help with temporary insomnia. Prescription medications may be appropriate for chronic insomnia. Your Houston Methodist sleep medicine doctor will discuss all your options to help you choose a manageable solution.  

I am looking for advanced care or a second opinion.

Underlying physical or psychiatric problems, such as a breathing disorder or depression, can cause insomnia. These conditions require special medical attention and do not respond to typical insomnia treatments. 

Some people are more vulnerable to insomnia than others. Persistent stress from relationship problems or trouble at work can cause insomnia. So can lifestyle behaviors like: 


  • The misuse of stimulants (caffeine and tobacco), alcohol or sleeping pills 
  • Keeping erratic bedtime hours 
  • Inactive behavior


Houston Methodist sleep medicine providers are part of a multidisciplinary team, offering patients streamlined access to mental health, neurological and physical medicine experts. Together, we will pinpoint and treat the cause of your sleep disturbance and help you develop healthy daily lifestyle patterns to achieve better sleep. 

Is Pulling an All-Nighter Bad for You?

Patients with insomnia often have sleepless nights, which can have short- and long-term effects.

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