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Health Protocols


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.