Not all cases of insomnia are identical. People can be affected by insomnia in different ways, and distinguishing between forms of the condition can be useful for both health professionals and people with insomnia.

There are two main types of insomnia:

Short-Term Insomnia

Also known as acute insomnia or adjustment insomnia, this is a brief episode of difficulty sleeping. Short-term insomnia is often caused by a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, a disconcerting medical diagnosis, a pandemic, rebounding from cessation of a drug or marijuana, or a major job or relationship change.

Acute insomnia lasts for less than three months, and symptoms may fade on their own as time passes and a person copes with the stressful incident that gave rise to their sleeping problems. However, short-term insomnia can be persistent and become chronic insomnia.

Short-term insomnia can affect both children and adults. It is more common in women than in men, and it can arise during pregnancy as well as menopause.

Sources: Sleep Foundation

Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. Insomnia is considered chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer.

Some people with chronic insomnia have a long history of difficulty sleeping. Inability to get the sleep they need may be persistent or go away and recur with months-long episodes at a time.

Chronic insomnia has many potential causes. Like acute insomnia, it can be tied to stressful situations, but it may also be related to irregular sleep schedules, poor sleep hygiene, persistent nightmares, mental health disorders, underlying physical or neurological problems, medications, a bed partner, and certain other sleep disorders.

Like short-term insomnia, chronic insomnia occurs in people of all ages and has a higher prevalence in women.

Sources: Sleep Foundation

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