It's three o'clock in the morning, and you can't sleep. You stare at the clock, aware that the alarm will go off in a few hours, but you can't sleep. You know you have a busy day ahead and need to be rested, but you can't sleep. No matter how hard you try, you can't sleep. You have insomnia.
For a long time, doctors were taught, "insomnia is a symptom, not a disease (or disorder)." However, new evidence is beginning to suggest insomnia may not simply be a symptom of other conditions, but rather, may be a disorder in its own right.
Regardless of whether it occurs with other medical conditions or by itself, insomnia tends to have a consistent set of nighttime and daytime symptoms. Moreover, treatment of associated conditions without specific attention to sleep does not consistently improve insomnia. Insomnia and other conditions may follow different time courses, and in many cases, insomnia is associated with worse outcomes of other conditions.
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