Patients with insomnia may experience one or more of the following problems: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, waking up too early in the morning and nonrefreshing sleep. In addition, daytime consequences such as fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and irritability are often present. Approximately 10 percent of adults experience persistent insomnia, although most patients do not mention it during routine office visits. Asking sleep-related questions during the general review of systems and asking patients with sleep complaints to keep a sleep diary are helpful approaches in detecting insomnia. Behavior and pharmacologic therapies are used in treating insomnia. Behavior approaches take a few weeks to improve sleep but continue to provide relief even after training sessions have ended. Hypnotic medications are safe and effective in inducing, maintaining and consolidating sleep. Effective treatment of insomnia may improve the quality of life for many patients.