Insomnia is categorised in three ways: transient, short-term and chronic.
Transient insomnia only lasts for a few days, and typically occurs in anticipation of something exciting or stressful. This situation is familiar to all of us from time to time because even children, who usually sleep well, have periods when they have difficulty falling asleep as a reaction to an approaching birthday or a visit from Santa.
But being familiar does not make insomnia any the less annoying, and when it becomes habitual, people often dread going to bed. Short-term insomnia may last for several weeks, and usually occurs during or after periods of severe stress.
Chronic insomnia can last for months or even years and the person who suffers from chronic insomnia probably knows every trick in the book for letting that desirable state of peaceful, restorative sleep to enter the bedroom.
Yet in spite of all the knowledge, the person still cannot make sleep occur as soundly, or for as long as he or she believes it should.
Insomnia is further categorised by when it occurs.
Sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia
Sleep onset insomnia
Sleep maintenance insomnia
Difficulty falling asleep is called sleep onset insomnia, and is probably the one that people who have transient insomnia are most familiar with. The mind is buzzing and sleep seems like the last thing that you either want to do, or are able to do.
But insomnia does not always strike as soon as you walk into the bedroom. Some people fall asleep with ease but they have difficulty staying asleep. This is called sleep mainenance insomnia and strikes in a couple of different ways.
Perhaps you wake up at three in the morning for no good reason and make a cup of tea, trudge around the block with the dog, or you simply lie there staring at the ceiling for an hour and a half.
Other people wake up at three o’clock to find themselves in a kind of ‘no man’s land’ where they feel that they are not totally awake and yet not completely asleep either.
Eventually the insomniac either falls into a sound but short sleep again before the alarm goes off, or gives up in disgust and decides the chance of sleep is over for the night.