Tests, such as a physical exam and a sleep study will help a doctor determine the presence of insomnia and whether there is an underlying condition that is causing the sleep problem.

Physical exam

A physician will go through a full medical history and a physical exam to look for signs of other problems that might be contributing to insomnia. For example, your doctor may order a blood test to check for a thyroid condition or other issues.

In-house sleep testing (Polysomnography)

A sleep study (also called “polysomnography”) monitors you as you sleep. Your doctor might ask you to spend the night at a sleep clinic where specialists can monitor your brain waves, breathing, heartbeat, and eye and body movements while you sleep. The doctor will place monitors on the chest, and electrodes on different parts of the body which will remain in place while the patient sleeps. Signals from the electrodes are recorded while the patient is awake and during sleep. The time it takes the patient to fall asleep and enter REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep is also measured.