Effective insomnia treatments to help you get restful sleep

Insomnia Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham

Insomnia is a fairly common health condition that affects the quality of your sleep. In turn, dealing with insomnia can negatively impact all areas of your life. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Our sleep health experts at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham are experienced in caring for people with insomnia.

What is Insomnia?

People who have insomnia report that they can’t sleep, or that their sleep is inadequate or poor quality. If you have insomnia, you may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Waking up too often and having trouble returning to sleep
  • Waking up unrefreshed

Complications of Insomnia

If you have insomnia and you don’t work with a doctor to help manage it, you may experience these or other issues:

  • Cognitive (thinking) problems:
    • Paying attention
    • Remembering things
    • Staying organized
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Types of Insomnia

There are three main types of insomnia:

  • Transient: Lasting from one night to several weeks
  • Intermittent: Recurrent bouts of transient insomnia
  • Chronic: Occurring most nights and lasting a month or more

Causes of Insomnia

Learn about causes and triggers for interrupted sleep.

Causes of Transient Insomnia

Transient insomnia is often triggered or perpetuated by stress or discomfort. Common causes include:

  • Acute (sudden) illness
  • Certain medications that impact sleep
  • Change in your sleep environment
  • Irregular sleep/wake schedule, such as shift work schedules or jet lag
  • Life crises
  • Uncomfortable temperature
Causes of Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia may result from ongoing factors, including those that cause transient insomnia, or mental or physical disorders. An irregular sleep-wake schedule can perpetuate poor sleep. Chronic sleep disturbance can reflect abnormal sleep-wake regulation or physiology during sleep.

Other Causes of Sleep Problems

Excessive napping reduces your chance of staying asleep at night. These and other disorders disrupt sleep:

Behavioral Health Conditions

Behavioral health conditions often trigger chronic insomnia, but account for less than half of cases. Different mental health conditions can affect sleep:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood instability
Medical Conditions

Sleep is also disrupted by immobility, difficulty breathing and pain. A variety of medical and neurologic illnesses may disturb sleep:

Some medical problems are worse during sleep. This can result from either increased vulnerability because of underlying sleep physiology — such as asthma — and/or because they are worsened by laying down — like gastroesophageal reflux.

Medications and Drugs That Affect Sleep

Many over-the-counter prescriptions and recreational drugs can diminish sleep quality. Different people are affected differently. These and other substances can affect sleep:

  • Activating antidepressants, such as buproprion
  • Alcohol
  • Beta blockers, including atenolol
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Recreational drugs
  • Steroids
  • Stimulant decongestants, such as those containing pseudoephedrine

Hypnotic drugs to promote sleep can be helpful if you’re under acute stress or if you’re traveling across time zones. However, you should never take sleeping drugs for more than two or three days without speaking with your doctor. Long-term use of sleeping medications actually can contribute to insomnia.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes that are associated with pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause disrupt sleep. Insomnia is more common in women, especially after menopause.

Services & Specialties

We offer these and other services to support your sleep health needs.

Make an Appointment

To speak with a member of our team, please call.