Insomnia, which is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, 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. However, 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 related to asthma, emphysema, obstructive sleep apnea, or heart failure, and other problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, chronic pain and restless legs syndrome. Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and many medications can also interfere with sleep.

If your sleep has been disturbed for more than a month, talk to your health care provider. Effective treatments are available, ranging from medications to cognitive-behavioral therapy.   Information on the technique of progressive muscle relaxation is available at

The National Institute of Health offers 12 tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

For further information, these web sites are recommended:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine –

National Sleep Foundation –