Abstract Sleep-related complaints affect 50-80% of patients on dialysis. Sleep disorders impair quality of life significantly. Increasing evidence suggests that sleep disruption has a profound impact both on an individual and on a societal level. The etiology of sleep disorders is often multifactorial: biologic, social, and psychological factors play a role. This is especially true for insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder in different populations, including patients on dialysis. Biochemical and metabolic changes, lifestyle factors, depression, anxiety, and other underlying sleep disorders can all have an effect on the development and persistence of sleep disruption, leading to chronic insomnia. Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or having nonrestorative sleep. It is also associated with daytime consequences, such as sleepiness and fatigue, and impaired daytime functioning. In most cases, the diagnosis of insomnia is based on the patient's history, but in some patients objective assessment of sleep pattern may be necessary. Optimally the treatment of insomnia involves the combination of both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches. In some cases acute insomnia resolves spontaneously, but if left untreated, it may lead to chronic sleep problems. The treatment of chronic insomnia is often challenging. There are only a few studies specifically addressing the management of this sleep disorder in patients with chronic renal disease. Considering the polypharmacy and altered metabolism in this patient population, treatment trials are clearly needed. This article reviews the diagnosis of sleep disorders with a focus on insomnia in patients on dialysis.