How can I treat my increasing insomnia?

This question was asked in Kagel Canyon, California on 11/13/2012.
I'm 61 and otherwise in good health. Lately (for the past 6 months or more), falling to sleep has been more difficult. Even with meds, lately, I only sleep 2-3 hours at a time. I snore, but also have vivid dreams and nightmares. I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to even fall asleep, let alone stay asleep. What should I do?

Doctors Answers (2)

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 11/14/2012

You are not alone in your struggle. There are numerous causes of insomnia...whether problems falling asleep, staying asleep or waking early. I could not do you justice to give a generic answer. Sleep Medicine is a subspecialty that deals with these problems. I would either call your insurance carrier for a sleep clinic in the area, google, talk to friends. I would advise you to find a clinic that has a board certified sleep physician with either the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) or the American Board of Medical Specialists-Sleep Medicine. Someone boarded in both would be ideal. Typically you would schedule an initial evaluation with the sleep doctor. He/She would take a complete history, perform a physical exam, review any data you have (lab work,etc) then determine the course of treatment. This may include a sleep study but often for insomnia the history is the key. Good luck.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 11/14/2012

Your insomnia became an issue less than a year ago at about age 60 y/o. Your history of snoring and being refractory to sleep meds raises many possibilities including sleep apnea or depression. You should consult with your primary care physician and possibly a sleep specialist. Medication and some form of relaxation therapy may be best. I am assuming you did not retire, change jobs, move or anything other life changing action.