Types of Insomnia

by Valerie Miller
by Valerie Miller

Table of Contents

Insomnia should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, many people react to their lack of sleep by telling friends and family members “I just can’t sleep,” and don’t do anything to change this problem.

One reason may be these individuals don’t know enough about the condition, so they don’t know where to start when trying to correct it.

This is unfortunate in itself, because information about insomnia is readily available. You might even say, if you can’t find what you need to know about this subject, you’re not looking.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of the few people who have finally decided it’s time to make some changes, so that a good night’s sleep doesn’t elude you in the future.

General Categories

If you take a few minutes to understand a few general categories of insomnia, you’ll be way ahead of most people (including hundreds who suffer from this condition). First, there’s acute insomnia, which is defined as a brief episode during which you have trouble sleeping.

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This usually has a direct cause, such as an event in your life causing stress – such as bad news, a change in your job, exciting travel etc. In most cases, this will be resolved without taking any specific steps or going through treatment.

However, if you are suffering from chronic insomnia you are in a completely different situation. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep three or four nights each week, and this continues for three months, four months, five months or longer, you should look closely at chronic insomnia. There are a number of causes for this condition. More on this shortly.

You can learn more about sleep and sleep aids at Insomnia Tracks.

It’s also important to understand what comorbid insomnia is, and what you can do about it, along with maintenance insomnia and onset insomnia. The first, comorbid insomnia, is diagnosed with another medical condition.

Symptoms include anxiety and depression, associated with changes in your sleep habits and patterns. If you think something like back pain, joint pain etc. is causing this, you should consult with your doctor and learn more on your own.

The other two types – onset and maintenance – are characterized by difficulty falling asleep, and by problems with staying asleep. Under the general category of insomnia, some studies show as many as 11 different specific conditions, all of which are characterized by difficulty falling asleep or difficulty with staying asleep.

There’s More

Almost every case will include some sort of stress, which doesn’t have to be negative. If you get too excited by something positive, you may also have trouble with sleep. This is generally associated with acute or short-term insomnia, as mentioned earlier. In most situations, the trouble with sleep will resolve itself after the event, so treatment is not necessary.

You may also come across behavioral insomnia in childhood, which has to be dealt with by a parent who insists on a specified bedtime. Idiopathic insomnia can continue for a lifetime, beginning in childhood, yet it is not the result of medical or psychiatric disorders, medication or stressful events. The specific cause is still not clear, and may involve your sleep cycle or your wake cycle.

Other types of insomnia can be attributed to drug use, caffeine, alcohol or a particular food. A medical condition can also be the cause of insomnia, including mental health. Some research also indicates there are organic and non-organic insomnias, generally called unspecified.

For non-organic, substances and other physical causes have been ruled out. Organic is caused by a medical disorder, physical condition or use of some substance. It may be difficult to find a specific cause, but there is one.

One More

Psychophysiological insomnia is usually connected to an excessive level of worry that often focuses on not being able to sleep. This can be the perfect example of a vicious circle. You worry so much about not being able to sleep that you can’t sleep. This results in tension and stress and the cycle continues.

While some of these additional categories can seem very specific, it’s important to understand that insomnia is not a simple condition with one or two definite causes. Learn more about sleep aids and other information on sleep conditions at Insomnia Tracks.

As you read about this malady on your own, or when you talk to a doctor or sleep specialist, it’s important to keep in mind how much lack of sleep can affect the rest of your life. Rest is fine, but quality sleep is essential.

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