What Are the Different Types of Insomnia?

Do you often experience poor-quality or too little sleep? You may be experiencing insomnia, a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. In addition to poor sleep, people suffering from insomnia often experience sleepiness during the day, general tiredness, irritability, and problems with concentration or memory. So what are the different types of insomnia, and how is insomnia treated?

What Are the Different Types of Insomnia?

In the broadest terms, there are two different types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is classified as sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health conditions or problems. Secondary insomnia are sleep problems that can be linked to a cause, such as health conditions (such as heartburn, arthritis, depression, or cancer), pain, medications, or a substance (such as alcohol or drugs).

Insomnia can be further broken down into 5 subcategories:

  • Acute insomnia – Also called short-term or adjustment insomnia, acute insomnia occurs for a brief period of time, typically between one night to a few weeks. Acute insomnia is usually triggered by significant life stress – both positive and negative – such as job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce or marriage, moving, or an exciting event (concert, trip, party, etc.). Acute insomnia can also be caused by emotional or physical discomfort, environment factors (noise, light, extreme temperatures), or a disruption to normal sleep patterns (travel or switching from a day to night shift).
  • Onset and maintenance insomnia – Onset insomnia is difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night, whereas maintenance insomnia is the inability to stay asleep. Those with maintenance insomnia wake up during the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep.
  • Comorbid insomnia – “Comorbid” is a medical term meaning “present simultaneously in a patient.” Thus comorbid insomnia is insomnia that occurs in conjunction with another condition. Many disorders – such as anxiety, depression, and hypothyroidism – are known to cause insomnia, while other conditions cause pain and make sleep uncomfortable (arthritis, back pain, etc.).
  • Chronic insomnia – When a person has difficulty falling or staying asleep at least three nights a week for three months or longer, their insomnia is considered chronic. Common causes of chronic insomnia include depression and/or anxiety, pain or discomfort at night, chronic stress, poor sleep habits, medications, and too much caffeine.

How Are Different Types of Insomnia Treated?

For insomnia that does not have an underlying medical cause, the best treatment is to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes creating (and sticking to) a regular sleep schedule; getting plenty of natural light during the day; going to bed when you’re tired; exercising at least 30 minutes a day; and turning off electronic devices an hour before bed. If your insomnia is being caused by a medical condition – such as depression, hypothyroidism, or acid reflux – treating the underlying cause will bring back restful sleep.

Suffering from Insomnia? Call Anchor Wellness Center

If you are having trouble falling and/or staying asleep, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine, as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help restore you to optimal health and having you sleeping peacefully again.

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