in·​som·​nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə How to pronounce insomnia (audio) \

Definition of insomnia

: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep especially due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep chronic insomnia Insomnia is a patient-reported problem characterized by difficulty falling asleep or difficulty maintaining sleep; ie, frequent awakenings, difficulty returning to sleep after awakenings, or awakening too early with inability to return to sleep.— Daniel J. Buysse

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of insomnia in a Sentence

has suffered from insomnia virtually his entire life
Recent Examples on the Web On the whole, poor sleep quality and insomnia problems were more prevalent than short sleep duration for all three nations. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "More women than men struggle to fall asleep in both Europe and the US, study finds," 16 Nov. 2020 After recovering, people report changes in attention, debilitating headaches, brain fog, muscular weakness, and, perhaps most commonly, insomnia. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "The Curious Influence of COVID-19 on Sleep," 21 Dec. 2020 Since late 2015, Hodson had suffered migraines and insomnia, anxiety and exhaustion. Patrick Hruby, Los Angeles Times, "Volleyball star Hayley Hodson had it all, until blows to her head changed everything," 8 Dec. 2020 Although many of the symptoms eventually went away, some personnel reported chronic effects including nausea, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, cognitive deficits, and memory loss. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Diplomats Are Sick With a Mysterious Illness. It May Be From a Microwave Weapon.," 8 Dec. 2020 The researchers looked for diagnoses of dementia, insomnia, anxiety and mood disorders in the COVID-19 patients as well as in those diagnosed with the six other health conditions, who served as a control group. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "One in five COVID-19 patients were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders within 90 days, study finds," 11 Nov. 2020 During the stress and chaos of 2020, many (many) people found solace in weighted blankets, which are known for their anxiety- and insomnia-relieving effects. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Bestselling weighted blankets we covered in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 Because the thyroid gland is so sensitive, flooding it with too many hormones — as a result of supplementation or medication — can lead to hyperthyroidism and symptoms like fever, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, excessive sweating, and insomnia. Ana Sanchez,, "The best thyroid health supplement," 12 Dec. 2020 In some insomnia cases, prescription drugs and supplements — particularly melatonin for children — may be helpful. Catherine Zuckerman New York Times, Star Tribune, "Don't let COVID-19 steal your sleep," 11 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insomnia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of insomnia

1739, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insomnia

Latin, from insomnis sleepless, from in- + somnus sleep — more at somnolent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insomnia

Time Traveler for insomnia

Time Traveler

The first known use of insomnia was in 1739

See more words from the same year

Statistics for insomnia

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Insomnia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for insomnia


How to pronounce insomnia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insomnia

: the condition of not being able to sleep


in·​som·​nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə How to pronounce insomnia (audio) \

Kids Definition of insomnia

: difficulty in sleeping


in·​som·​nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə How to pronounce insomnia (audio) \

Medical Definition of insomnia

: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep especially due to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

called also agrypnia

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on insomnia

What made you want to look up insomnia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!