Report: Seau suffered from insomnia

Junior Seau had had trouble sleeping and took powerful sleep aids for years, according to a report by USA Today.

Seau, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest last month at age 43, had often taken the sleep aid Ambien, according to friends. One of the drug's side effects is suicidal thoughts in depressed users, and those who take it are urged not to drink alcohol, which Seau did.

Friends voiced their concern about Seau's sleeping problems in conversations with him.

"He told me he usually woke up around 1 or 2 and couldn't go back to sleep," says Nancy Emsley, who often worked out with Seau at a local gym. Emsley said she warned Seau that he needed to sleep for eight hours after taking one, but the former linebacker rolled his eyes.

One of Seau's former teammates, Mark Walczak, said Seau had taken sleep aids for at least seven years, and that those medications often produce anxiety.

"I know he's had a very difficult time sleeping over the years," Walczak said. "I think it's gotten worse and worse. Lack of sleep creates huge anxiety."

Seau's 11-year-old son told his mother, Seau's ex-wife Gina, that she saw Seau's light on around 3 a.m. one morning and that the former football star was sitting in his room staring at the TV, except the TV wasn't on.

The boy asked his father if he was OK, and Seau replied that he was.

Also, according to the story, Seau was good at hiding whatever demons he was battling, with former NFL star Anthony Munoz saying in a recent visit that Seau seemed to be upbeat and happy.

"There was just no indication of any problem," said Anthony Munoz, who saw Seau in mid-April at the Southern California spring football game. "It was the same old Junior I've known all these years."

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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