Kinds of Insomnia

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Maybe you have heard a friend say, “I am suffering from insomnia,” or maybe you have said it yourself. Well, we all know that insomnia means that you aren’t sleeping at night when you should be, but do you know what kind of insomnia you or your friend has?

There are three basic types or kinds of insomnia. They are:

  1. Transient Insomnia: Transient is a temporary insomnia that will last a night or two. Usually transient insomnia is caused by temporary stress or excitement. Illness can cause insomnia and so can a change in the regular sleep schedule. Think jet lag.
  2. Short-Term Insomnia: Now short-term insomnia can last up to three weeks. That is why your doctor will ask you how long you have been having trouble sleeping. Short-term insomnia is caused by such things as the death of a loved one, financial problems, a job change, or a divorce. Short-term insomnia needs to be addressed or it can develop into a chronic problem. The short-term use of sleeping pills or of herbs that provide relaxation can help.
  3. Chronic Insomnia: Chronic insomnia is insomnia that lasts a month or longer. Insomnia can occur every night or most nights or just several nights each and every month. Usually chronic insomnia is caused by a medical problem. The medical problem needs to be identified and treated, and the insomnia will likely go away all by itself.

Insomnia is a symptom. Transient or short-term insomnia will correct itself when the stressful situation improves. Chronic insomnia will correct itself when the medical cause is identified and treated. Insomnia is not a disease, but rather a symptom. It is better to treat the cause rather than the symptom, although temporary use of over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids can be of help but should only be used temporarily.

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