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Different Types Of Insomnia

Staying awake till the wee hours of the night or should I say morning seems like a normal thing for most teenagers these days. Are you tossing and turning on bed trying to fall asleep? But to no avail? There’s a very thin line between staying up late by choice and eventually being termed as an “insomniac”. Any individual diagnosed with insomnia is called an insomniac. But what exactly is insomnia? 

In simple words, insomnia is a sleep disorder. It prevents you from falling or staying asleep at night which causes the individual to be very tired and drowsy during the day. But the worst part of the ordeal? It’s the thoughts that go around your head while you can’t sleep at night. Not only that, but the fact that it’s a continuous chain of nights where sleep is not an option. Insomnia leads to depression, lack of enthusiasm, anxiety, chronic illnesses and of course, poor sleeping habits. Besides, normal everyday chores become difficult due to lack of focus. 

Based on the duration of the disorder, how long it takes you to sleep and a number of other factors, there are a few different types of insomnia. Here’s a breakdown of all the types of insomnia you should know about. 

Chronic Insomnia 

Chronic insomnia is considered as a long-term difficulty is falling or staying asleep. Usually it is diagnosed if a person faces trouble falling asleep for at least three nights per  week for a month or so. Chronic insomnia is further distinguished as either primary chronic insomnia or secondary chronic insomnia. Secondary chronic insomnia which arises due to another chronic condition is not common compared to primary chronic insomnia. The causes for chronic insomnia vary from mental health conditions like depression, anxiety to chronic medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetics, etc. Not only that but also due to drugs, alcohol, antidepressants, frequent travelling, etc. 

Acute insomnia

Acute insomnia can be described as a short or brief term insomnia. Moreover, it’s definitely the most common of all types and lasts for either a few days or weeks. It can be triggered by stress when you’re most likely adapting to a new scenario. For example, someone’s death, a new job or moving to another place. Other causes are jet lag, unfamiliar surroundings, illness, etc. Acute insomnia is cured overtime without any medications or treatment. 

Maintenance Insomnia 

The difficulty in staying asleep or instead having trouble to go back to sleep is termed as maintenance insomnia. The person tends to wake up too early and hence not getting enough sleep. Besides, this particular type interferes with your thought process as you continuously try to fall asleep and worry about not getting enough sleep. It is mostly cause due to medical conditions, the major one being depression. However, medical conditions like restless leg syndrome, asthma, sleep apnea or gastrointestinal reflux disease can also lead to this type of insomnia. 

Onset Insomnia 

This type of insomnia is nothing but the difficulty in falling asleep at the beginning of the night. Or in other words, the difficulty in initiating sleep. This is short term and can arise from any of the causes of acute insomnia or chronic insomnia. Caffeine is one of the many stimulants which also prevent you from falling asleep. People with chronic onset insomnia will be diagnosed with another chronic illness as well. 

Drug or Substance-Induced insomnia

Difficulty in sleeping either because of medications or recreational drugs gives rise to drug or substance-induced insomnia. Of course, the major substance is caffeine, we’ve all had caffeine at one point in our lives to stay awake and study for that particular exam. However, it can also be initiated by intake of alcohol, ADHD treatment, opioids or cannabis. While cannabis and CBD can have calming effects on some people, it can disrupt the sleeping pattern for others. 

Paradoxical Insomnia 

If you’ve ever felt that you’ve been awake the entire time while sleeping, you’re probably suffering from paradoxical insomnia. This type of insomnia is also called pseudo-insomnia. The people suffering through this type of insomnia underestimate the amount of time they are asleep and overestimate the amount of time they spend awake. Technically, while the people feel that they don’t get enough or less sleep, they don’t suffer from insomnia at all. 

Medication can help treat insomnia to some extent, only if recommended by a doctor. However, long-term use of medications is not recommended. Natural treatments as well as herbal remedies help to induce sleep. Other medications which can assist to treat insomnia include antihistamines, sedatives, antidepressants, etc. However, some medications bring along side effects like day time drowsiness or dizziness, headaches, odd eating behaviours, nausea, memory loss. 

It’s important to remember that insomnia does not have to continuously keep you awake at night. If you’re going through any of these types, talk to someone, most preferably a physician. One of the major causes is stress. Go for a walk, meditate, try to do physical or outdoor activities. Most important, think positively. 

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