Medical Definition of Insomnia, intermittent

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Insomnia, intermittent: Insomnia that occurs from time to time and each time lasts less than a week or two.

Intermittent insomnia may not require treatment since the episodes of insomnia usually only last a few days at a time. For example, if insomnia is due to a temporary change in the sleep/wake schedule, as with jet lag, the biological clock will often get back to normal on its own.

For some people, however, who experience daytime sleepiness and impaired performance as a result of transient insomnia, the use of short-acting sleeping pills may improve sleep and next-day alertness. As with all drugs, there are potential side effects. The use of over-the-counter sleep medicines is not usually recommended for the treatment of insomnia.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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