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Insomnia: 4 types you should know about

Posted on 08/09/2021 by CMRI


What everyone needs after a long tiring day is a good night’s sleep, and not being able to enjoy the same can be quite frustrating. While some people may fall asleep soon after lying down in their bed, others may spend their nights twisting and turning, waiting like an owl. The condition is commonly referred to as insomnia, and is defined as the inability to fall asleep, or maintain a peaceful sleep at night. The problem may be acute or chronic depending upon how long it lasts. As per the best doctor for sleep disorders, acute insomnia is usually a result of stress or some external factor, whereas chronic insomnia may be related to some serious underlying health issue.

Insomnia is broadly classified into 4 types. These are:

  • Acute insomnia
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Maintenance insomnia
  • Behavioural Insomnia of childhood

Acute insomnia

Acute Insomnia happens to be one of the most common types of insomnia. The term acute clearly suggests that the problem is short-term and lasts for a very short period of time. This is usually a result of a change in environmental factors or excessive stress. It is due to this very reason that acute Insomnia is also referred to as adjustment insomnia, as one needs to adjust to new changes around him/her. Some of the common factors responsible for acute Insomnia include:

  • Changes in the environment or unfamiliarity of surroundings
  • Loud noise or bright light
  • Extreme hot or cold temperature
  • Uncomfortable bedding which includes mattress and pillows
  • Starting a new career or a new job
  • Shifting to a new place
  • Jet lag after travelling by air for hours
  • Excessive stress due to work deadlines or examination
  • Sudden shock or grief, such as the death of a close relative or friend
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical pain and discomfort caused by some other condition or injury
  • Side effect of medicines that you are checking for some other problem
  • Acute allergic reactions

Chronic insomnia

Chronic Insomnia is the complete opposite of acute insomnia as this is a long term problem that may last for a couple of weeks or even months at a stretch. Experts offering the best treatment for insomnia suggest that any person who experiences difficulty with sleep, at least 3 to 4 times a week for a month or more, has chronic insomnia. This is divided into two types – primary Insomnia and secondary insomnia.

The former is also referred to as idiopathic insomnia as there is no particular factor responsible for it, i.e. the cause is not known. The latter is referred to as comorbid insomnia, and this is usually a result of some other underlying comorbidity. Some of the common causes of chronic insomnia include:

  • Chronic medical ailments like Acid Reflux disease, thyroid, sleep apnea and diabetes
  • Underlying neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic pain and discomfort
  • Psychological conditions like anxiety and depression
  • Certain medications such as those taken for high blood pressure, anti-epileptic drugs and antidepressants
  • Exposure to brain stimulants like nicotine and caffeine
  • Nasal and sinus blockage
  • Age of the patient
  • Change or unfamiliarity of the surrounding
  • Stress and anxiety

Maintenance insomnia

In this case, the patient does not experience difficulty with falling asleep but rather finds it difficult to stay asleep. You may wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Experts from the best multispeciality hospital in Kolkata suggest that maintenance insomnia may be due to chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, nasal blockage, sinus allergies, restless leg syndrome, chronic pain,  etc.

Behavioural Insomnia of childhood Behavioural insomnia, as the name suggests, is not a result of an underline problem but rather behavioural issues like refusing to go to sleep and staying awake till late in the night. These are very common problems that most parents complain of. While some children may experience it occasionally, it might be more persistent in the case of others.