Nine Types of Insomnia
In common parlance, insomnia is often used as a catch-all term for sleeplessness, ranging from infrequent to chronic and from mild to severe. However, insomnia in New York, as well as across the nation, takes numerous forms. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has identified as many as nine different kinds of insomnia. These different types of insomnia are differentiated by their cause, duration, and severity.
#1: Adjustment Insomnia
Adjustment insomnia is acute, short-term insomnia. Adjustment insomnia is usually caused by mental, emotional, physical, or medical stress, and is often associated with relationship problems, occupational demands, loss of a loved one, or other psychosocial stressors. An estimated 15% to 20% of adults suffer from adjustment insomnia at some point during the year, and it is more likely to occur in women than in men. It often results in daytime fatigue, reduced work or academic performance, mood problems, and difficulties with attention and concentration.
#2: Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood
Behavioral insomnia of childhood is a sleep disorder affecting children. It is generally associated with poor sleep hygiene, such as the lack of a regular bedtime enforced by parents or other caregivers. Sleep specialists divide behavioral insomnia of childhood into three subtypes:
- BIC Sleep-Onset Association Type – results from negative sleep associations, such as over-reliance on parental rocking or soothing on younger children or on television reliance in older children. This results in delayed sleep onset and/or frequent awakenings during the night.
- BIC Limit-Setting Type – involves a refusal on the part of the child to comply with parental rules regarding bedtime and sleep habits.
- BIC Combined Type – the combination of both of the above.
#3: Idiopathic Insomnia
Idiopathic insomnia is a lifelong sleep disorder that begins in childhood and whose cause remains elusive. Idiopathic insomnia has been determined not to result from known sleep disorders, medical problems, psychiatric problems, stress, or other identifiable common causes of insomnia.
#4: Insomnia Due to Substance Use or Abuse
Medicines and other substances can interfere with sleep. The most obvious drug that contributes to insomnia in New York is caffeine, but other stimulants, such as nicotine and ADHD medications, can also cause sleeplessness. Although many people use alcohol as a nightcap to aid sleep onset, alcohol can actually interfere with the quality and duration of sleep.
#5: Insomnia Due to a Medical Condition
This designation encompasses insomnia that results from a known medical condition. It is estimated that among people actively seeking treatment for insomnia, approximately 4% have this subtype. Many physical illnesses can cause insomnia, including asthma and restrictive lung disease. Pregnancy can also interfere with sleep.
#6: Insomnia Nonorganic, Unspecified
Nonorganic insomnia is caused by a psychological factor rather than a physical condition, although the cause has not been identified.#7: Insomnia Organic, Unspecified
Organic insomnia that is unspecified is thought by the physician to result from a medical disorder or physical condition, although the exact cause has not yet been identified.
#8: Paradoxical Insomnia
Paradoxical insomnia is a complaint by the patient of severe insomnia, in the absence of any evidence suggesting actual sleep disturbance. It is usually associated with very mild daytime effects, and patients complaining of paradoxical insomnia are often overestimating the time it takes them to fall asleep or underestimating the total duration of nightly sleep.
#9: Psychopathological Insomnia
This subtype of insomnia is caused by excessive anxiety specifically about not being able to sleep. People with psychopathological insomnia are so worried about losing sleep, that they actually end up not being able to fall asleep.