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Insomnia is not a disease, so no specific test can diagnose it. But when you can't sleep well, it often has to do with some other cause.
"Normal sleep" differs for each person, so checking your health and sleep history is an important first step to finding a cause for poor-quality sleep. Talk with your doctor about your medical history, any medical problems you have, and any medicines you are taking. Your doctor may also want to do blood tests to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems.
Your doctor can learn a lot about your insomnia and its causes by reviewing your sleep history. Your sleep history can show how long you sleep each night, how well you sleep, and whether you snore or gasp for air. Your doctor may ask your bed partner questions about your sleep.
You may also be asked to keep a sleep journal for 1 or 2 weeks to track your sleep patterns and habits. Your sleep journal can help your doctor spot certain habits that may affect your sleep. He or she may even see signs of a hidden health problem that may need to be checked.
If your doctor thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may refer you for a sleep study. When you have a sleep study, you stay overnight in a special sleep lab.
Your doctor may recommend a sleep study if your insomnia seems to be caused by breathing problems (such as sleep apnea) or periodic limb movement disorder. Or your doctor may suggest a sleep study if you have tried other treatments that haven't worked.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.