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Types of Insomnia

Types of Insomnia

The term “insomnia” generally refers to the condition in which a person has difficulty sleeping. There are several different types of insomnia which present as a single problem or as a variety of different issues such as difficulties falling asleep, problems remaining asleep, waking too soon, as well as still feeling fatigued after waking up from a night’s sleep.

Insomnia is categorized by both the severity and duration of the symptoms. Insomnia is broken down into a several types including primary insomnia, co-morbid insomnia, transient insomnia, short-term insomnia, and chronic insomnia.

Primary Insomnia

Primary insomnia is characterized as problems sleeping which are not connected to other health conditions, psychiatric causes, or environmental factors. Primary insomnia can further be divided into three sub-groups.

Psychophysiological insomnia: change in sleep habits due to stress factors.

Idiopathic insomnia: abnormality of the neurological control of the sleep-wake cycle.

Sleep state misperception: unknown factors.

Comorbid Insomnia

Previously known as secondary insomnia, comorbid insomnia consists of sleeping issues, which are commonly linked with other conditions. This form is the most common with 8 out of 10 insomniacs suffering from comorbid insomnia. There are several types of medical problems that are linked to insomnia. These include:

  • Health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, heartburn, and arthritis
  • Depression, pain, and anxiety
  • Additional substances which you might be utilizing such as tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Using medication, including over the counter and prescription
  • Additional sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome
  • An environment which is not conducive to sleeping or an inappropriate sleeping routine

Insomnia is further characterized by the duration of the problem.

Transient insomnia

This type of insomnia lasts for less than one week and is caused by temporary conditions such as jet lag, excitement, changes in sleeping schedules, illness, or temporary stress.

Short-term Insomnia

Short-term insomnia affects you for a longer period, from one to three weeks. This occurs mostly due to stress, financial difficulties, divorce, a change in job, as well as other personal worries. If this form of insomnia is not treated, this can become a chronic issue.

Chronic Insomnia

The chronic form of insomnia may occur each night, the majority of nights, or as little as a few times per month. This is usually caused by medical issues, which need to be directly treated in order to alleviate insomnia.




Comorbid Insomnia: Current Directions and Future Challenges.” AJMC – American Journal of Managed Care. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.

“Primary Insomnia.” N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.

“Insomnia.” N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.


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