in·som·nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə \

Definition of insomnia 

: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep

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Other words from insomnia

insomniac \in-ˈsäm-nē-ˌak \ adjective or noun

Synonyms for insomnia


sleeplessness, wakefulness

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Examples of insomnia in a Sentence

has suffered from insomnia virtually his entire life

Recent Examples on the Web

From massage oils to dog biscuits, a variety of products that purport to soothe ailments from insomnia to inflammation are available for sale in Illinois with little regulation. Vikki Ortiz,, "To calm dogs spooked by fireworks, pet owners are using treats made from marijuana plants," 3 July 2018 Doctors may be turning away from medication and headed toward more holistic methods to treat cancer survivors who suffer from severe insomnia. Lindsay Carlton, Fox News, "Acupuncture gives relief to cancer patients suffering insomnia," 8 June 2018 Essential oils claim to treat everything from insomnia to headaches through their use in aromatic diffusers, massage oils, or therapeutic baths., "Essential oils: Why 'natural' doesn't always mean safe," 22 May 2018 Your play-by-play of the day's activities may increase anxiety and fuel insomnia. Sarah Jio, Woman's Day, "10 All-Natural Remedies to Get a Better Night's Sleep," 11 Nov. 2010 Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia also can be helpful. Houston Chronicle, "Vicks VapoRub for poison ivy itch," 8 July 2018 Ambien is certainly a very bad bargain as a treatment for insomnia. Allen Frances, STAT, "The devil didn’t make me do it — it was Ambien. Nice try, Roseanne," 30 May 2018 But medications for insomnia aren't usually recommended for long-term use and can bring on unpleasant side effects. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Charlize Theron Got Cannabis Edibles From Her Mom to Help Her Sleep," 12 Mar. 2018 Consider another cause for insomnia: President Donald Trump’s opposition to a new rail tunnel linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River. Elise Young,, "How Trump’s Hudson Tunnel Feud Threatens the National Economy," 5 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of insomnia

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insomnia

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

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Statistics for insomnia

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for insomnia

The first known use of insomnia was circa 1623

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English Language Learners Definition of insomnia

: the condition of not being able to sleep


in·som·nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə \

Kids Definition of insomnia

: difficulty in sleeping


in·som·nia | \ in-ˈsäm-nē-ə \

Medical Definition of insomnia 

: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep

called also agrypnia

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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).


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