The assessment of insomnia is not markedly different from the assessment of sleep disorders in general, and a good insomnia history will necessarily include a good sleep history, psychiatric history and medical history. However, it is also possible to take a brief history that will ascertain the cardinal features of the disorder and allow one to formulate a management plan. In this chapter I will examine the aspects of history taking that are specifically important in insomnia patients, when to order investigations, what investigations are useful and the limitations of those investigations. I will conclude with a suggested formula for conceptualizing the patient’s insomnia and organizing the information you have gleaned so that the appropriate treatments can be selected.
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