Insomnia is defined as a condition whereby an individual has difficulty falling or staying asleep. It can be very harmful, especially when it affects your daily life, leading to a lack of energy, and a lack of concentration or productivity in your daily activities. But what do you need to know about insomnia? What information can help you deal with that?

If you thought there was only one type of insomnia, well, you thought wrong. There are multiple types of insomnia that stem from all sorts of different causes. If you determine what type you have, you can also find its roots and learn to treat or manage them. Especially for those whose causes of insomnia originate from other disorders.

The 5 types of insomnia and how to prevent them

What does each type of insomnia mean? What are your causes? How can you prevent them from happening?

1. Acute insomnia

Acute insomnia is a brief episode of difficulty sleeping that can appear any time there is a relevant trigger. It is usually the result of:

  • An event
  • Disease
  • Stress
  • Bad news
  • Jet lag
  • Sleeping in a new location
  • Medication
  • The death of a loved one
  • Emotions
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Disruptors or environmental factors

In other words, acute insomnia is not a chronic problem. It is the result of a one-time event and is not something you will have to deal with in the long run. In most cases, acute insomnia goes away on its own and requires little or no treatment.

This form of short-term insomnia is the most common type of annoyance that affects people, lasting no more than a few weeks. Some people may not even realize they are suffering from insomnia, as the inability to sleep is a normal and expected side effect of the aforementioned causes.

2. Chronic insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a long-term problem, characterized by trouble sleeping for at least three nights a week for a period of three months or more. It can happen at random times, or it can be a regular part of your life.

There are two types of chronic insomnia . The first is called primary chronic insomnia. This is also called idiopathic insomnia, which means that there is no apparent medical, physical, or other underlying cause.

The second is called secondary insomnia. It is also known as comorbid insomnia, and this is more common than the primary type. It is usually accompanied by another disorder or condition.

The following are common causes of chronic insomnia, whether of the first or second type:

  • Mental health disorders, such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression
  • Lifestyle issues, such as persistent jet lag, inconsistent naps, or changing work shifts
  • Medications, such as antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, or beta-blockers
  • Chronic disorders, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, sleep apnea, or Parkinson’s disease
  • Stimulants, such as drugs, alcohol, or nicotine

3. Sleep-onset insomnia

Sleep-onset insomnia refers to insomnia that involves difficulty with the act of initiating sleep or going to sleep. It can come in acute or chronic forms. For most people, this presents as a side effect or a companion factor of depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychiatric or psychological conditions.

For chronic onset sleep insomnia, studies have found a link between this insomnia and other types of sleep disorders, so if you have this type of insomnia , you probably want to know if you have a positive diagnosis for any of the following conditions. These may include:

  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
  • Late stage sleep syndrome
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome

4. Maintenance insomnia

Maintenance insomnia refers to a type of insomnia defined by difficulty staying asleep or staying asleep. It can also refer to waking hours that are too early for you. After you wake up, you may not be able to go back to sleep properly, which will further affect your sleep cycle.

There are a wide variety of conditions that can cause maintenance insomnia, including:

  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Other respiratory conditions

Maintenance insomnia can also be caused by sleep disorders, such as external factors such as bad temperatures, excessive light, or loud noises. When you wake up to these conditions, you may not be able to go back to sleep until they are fixed.

5. Childhood behavioral insomnia

Childhood behavioral insomnia is a type of insomnia that occurs in children . In fact, it affects a large part of them, approximately 25%. There are three types of this condition, which are:

Sleep-onset behavioral insomnia

This is usually the result of inappropriate sleep associations. This means that a child can only fall asleep while rocking, turning on the TV, or having his parents next to him. Over-reliance on these techniques to make a child sleep can, ironically, make them only able to sleep when these conditions are met.

Limiting behavioral insomnia

A child with this type of insomnia will try to avoid sleeping in many ways. They may try to postpone sleep by repeatedly asking for a drink, having more bedtime stories read to them, or going to the bathroom multiple times. Parents who do not set limits for these problems run the risk of allowing their child to take this too far.

Combined-type behavioral insomnia

This type of childhood behavioral insomnia is a mixture of the two previous types.

Please note that when we discuss tips to prevent insomnia, we will not cover behavioral insomnia, as this is not “insomnia” in the typical sense of the word, but is caused by learned behavior that parents can correct on their own. rhythm and with their own methods. However, here are some ideas to fix this behavior:

  • Develop a healthy, positive bedtime routine
  • Teach other forms of relaxation
  • Be firm and strict about bedtime and limits

General tips to prevent insomnia

1. Exercise, but at the right time

Exercise can tire your body and make it easier to sleep. However, make sure you exercise at the right times. Do not exercise within four hours of bedtime, as this will cause your body to “turn on” in some way, giving you more energy.

Exercising first thing in the morning is a common way to get better sleep, but if you feel too tired for the rest of the day, you can do it in the afternoon. Keep in mind that if you are not used to exercising, it is very typical to feel too tired when you start exercising again.

2. Make your room quiet

The sleeping conditions must be adequate for you to fall asleep. Here are some ways to make sure your bedroom is quiet and peaceful:

Make sure your room is dark enough

If you use a night light, make sure it’s not bright enough to disturb you. Invest in blackout curtains if necessary.

Maintain a comfortable room temperature

See if you tend to sleep warmer or colder, and try adjusting the temperature in your room to make it more comfortable. If you can’t do this, change the sheets and covers on your bed to suit your needs.

Ensures adequate levels of comfort

Make sure your pillows, mattresses, nightwear, and sheets are comfortable enough that you want to sleep on them.

3. Keep a regular sleep schedule

If you sleep at random and inconsistent times and change your sleep and wake times every night, your body’s internal clock will be wrecked.

You won’t be able to sleep when you need it. So instead of watching TV shows late into the night, be more strict with yourself. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

It is also a good idea to start a routine before bed. This can help you relax and prepare your body for sleep. The routine should consist of relaxing and calming things, such as:

  • Reading a book – preferably not too exciting
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Take a nice hot bath
  • Drink a glass of water

4. Don’t take naps

If you tend to nap during the day to help maintain your energy, you may be causing your insomnia. These naps make your body feel too rested, preventing you from being able to rest again at night. It may even be confusing your sleep-wake cycle.

If you really must take a nap, it should be a nap of no more than 20 minutes. Naps longer than that will leave you feeling groggy as you enter deeper phases of sleep. And naps that are too long will reduce your ability to sleep. Additionally, 20 minute naps have been found to have benefits for:

  • Your general mood and positive thinking
  • Productivity and concentration
  • General energy, even after sleepless nights

5. Recognize when to seek medical help

While acute insomnia can be self-treating, and insomnia rooted in controllable causes can be easily managed on your own, knowing when you need the help of a medical professional is essential. If your insomnia is chronic, due to a disorder or illness, or related to other problems, you should talk to a doctor about your options.

Some people are concerned about the idea of ​​becoming dependent on sleeping pills or other methods of sleep, and while it is a valid concern, these are simple treatment methods, as there are for any medical condition.

However, feel free to raise these concerns with your doctor. Most likely, they can find a solution that matches your concerns.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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