Did You Know that There are Different Types of Insomnia?

There are several different types of insomnia depending on the moment of the night it appears. Learn all about them in this article!
Did You Know that There are Different Types of Insomnia?

Last update: 04 May, 2022

Difficulty in getting to sleep or staying asleep is a very common problem in today’s world. Depending on the cause, the duration, or the consequences, we can say that there are different types of insomnia.

In this article, we’ll talk to you about the most important types of insomnia.

What is insomnia?

types of insomnia

Not being able to sleep for a night because we’re anxious is normal. If you can’t get to sleep the night before a big event (a trip, a move, a wedding, etc.), you don’t need to worry.

The problem is when the problems getting sleep become the rule and not the exception.

Insomnia affects a large amount of the world’s population. And, it can show up when going to bed or early in the morning (waking up and not being able to get to sleep again).

It is divided up depending on the duration:

  • Acute if it lasts for less than one month.
  • Subacute if it lasts between four to six weeks.
  • Chronic if it goes past 6 months and it hasn’t been solved.

There are many causes of insomnia. But, it’s especially due to psychological changes like stress, depression, or anxiety.

For some people, this is due to a hormonal imbalance. It can also be related to certain circadian rhythm problems (that regulate when you sleep and wake).

Also, we should know that insomnia can have other origins like:

  • Bad conditions in the place you’re sleeping
  • Irregular sleep habits
  • Large meals
  • Taking stimulants (coffee, alcohol, drugs, etc.).

At the same time, there are some who have insomnia after a surgery. It can also be caused by abstaining from alcohol, PTSD, or from a medication’s side effect.

What can control different types of insomnia?

We can prevent the appearance of this problem. And, we can prevent it from becoming chronic if we have healthy habits:

  • Don’t take stimulants at night.
  • Eat a light dinner
  • Exercise up to the evening.
  • Control your room’s environment. And, reduce lights and sounds.
  • Keep a routine for your sleeping and waking hours.
  • Give yourself a relaxing bath at night.
  • Don’t watch tv or use your smartphone in bed.
  • Avoid long naps.

Discover more: Eight Aromatic Oils to Help You Sleep Better

Sleep is fundamental for our body. This is because it repairs and restores your body. Also, it thermoregulates and prepares your body for the next day’s activities.

So, insomnia can have many negative consequences. Among them, the following stand out:

  • Difficulty concentrating or memorizing
  • Tiredness, reluctance, drowsiness
  • Traffic or work accidents
  • Irritability, depression, and a bad mood
  • Disorientation and existential crises

What types of insomnia are there?

types of insomnia

The kinds of insomnia are divided into three large groups: they depend on the duration, intensity, and the time period.

Passing or acute

This is when the disease lasts for a maximum of 4 weeks. It can be due, for instance, to changes in your pattern of sleep, when you work, or your geographical location (what we know as “jet lag”).

Also, this kind of insomnia can be caused by other things. They include stress, personal problems, or too much coffee or alcohol.

Short term or subacute

This lasts between 4 and 6 weeks. It’s more common in people that suffer from a major accident or who have lost a loved one.

Also, it’s very common to experience it as a consequence of PTSD.

Long term or Chronic types of insomnia

This has a duration that’s greater than 3 months. And, it can go until the person treats the problem. In most cases, this is due to a chronic physical or mental disease.


types of insomnia

This is the most common sleep disease. This is because it doesn’t have consequences that are that negative in the person’s quality of life.

The next day, they wake up more tired and with less desire to work. But it doesn’t put their health at risk.


When insomnia becomes something more common, the effects are more visible and important.

The day to day deterioration in the person is related to several things. These include their irritability, anxiety, and the lack of accomplishment at work.

Having a bad mood is common. And, people who suffer from it have problems retaining information as well.


In this case, the sleeping disease has a greater intensity. And, it noticeably impacts the life of the affected person.

They can’t do any of their daily activities. This is because they don’t have enough energy to even get out of bed.

Also, their mood changes are more erratic. You can take medications or certain substances to reverse the situation.

Read more: Beat Insomnia With These Four Tips

Onset or at the start

It seems that we can hardly get to sleep. This is characterized by difficulty getting to sleep until early in the morning.

The person doesn’t find an effective way to sleep (counting sheep, reading, meditating, listening to relaxing music, etc).

Many times, this kind of insomnia is caused by anxiety or by problems. And, it doesn’t let your brain calm down enough.

Maintenance or in the middle

In this case, the problem develops in the early hours of the morning. Even though you can get to sleep, in the early hours of the morning you wake up. And, you can’t get back to sleep.

You can also wake up several times during the night.

Types of insomnia:At the end

This is also known as early morning awakening. In this case, the person wakes up before the time they set their alarm clock for.

This can be due to a lack of total darkness in your room. You might open your eyes with the first rays of the sun. Or, it could be because of a lot of anxiety due to an important event that day.

We hope you liked our article, for more information on health and remedies click below!

  • Levenson, J. C., Kay, D. B., & Buysse, D. J. (2015). The pathophysiology of insomnia. Chest. https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.14-1617
  • Tang, N. K. Y., Goodchild, C. E., Hester, J., & Salkovskis, P. M. (2012). Pain-related insomnia versus primary insomnia: A comparison study of sleep pattern, psychological characteristics, and cognitive-behavioral processes. Clinical Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1097/AJP.0b013e31823711bc
  • Alonso, F., Esteban, C., Montoro, L., & Tortosa, F. (2014). Psychotropic drugs and driving: Prevalence and types. Annals of General Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-859X-13-14