Types of Insomnia
Generally speaking, there are two types of insomnia:
- Onset insomnia ‒ difficulty falling asleep
- Maintenance insomnia ‒ difficulty staying asleep
Both onset and maintenance insomnia may be acute or chronic.
- Acute insomnia is generally associated with a disruptive or stressful life event and typically resolves within a few weeks without treatment. About 30‒50% of people in industrialized nations experience periodic acute insomnia.18,19 Some cases lasting only a few days may be described as transient insomnia.20
- Chronic insomnia is long-term sleep difficulty occurring at least three nights per week for at least three months. Chronic insomnia is the type associated with long-term health problems and affects about 5‒10% of the population.18
Finally, insomnia may be described as primary or secondary.
- Primary insomnia arises without any clear underlying cause.
- Secondary insomnia, which may be described as comorbid insomnia, arises as a consequence of another condition or disease. For instance, people with chronic back pain may be unable to sleep well due to unrelenting discomfort.