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Symptoms and Signs of Primary Insomnia

Doctor's Notes on Primary Insomnia

Primary insomnia is sleeplessness, insufficient sleep, or the perception of poor quality sleep not caused by medical or psychiatric diseases, conditions, genetics, illnesses, or environmental causes (such as drug abuse, medication, or shift-work). Insomnia can be classified as primary, which is caused by either psychological factors, sleep state misperception, or is idiopathic (no known cause). When insomnia is caused by another disease, condition, or illness it is considered secondary insomnia.

Symptoms of primary insomnia may range from mild to severe and include difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings in the night, and an inability to sleep well anywhere else but in one’s own bedroom. Symptoms that may accompany insomnia include difficulties with attention or concentration, hyperactivity, hypersensitivity or insensitivity to medications, tension, dissatisfaction, and repression (denial or minimization) of emotional problems.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.