Sleep disorders (or sleep-wake disorders) involve problems with the quality, timing, and amount of sleep, which result in daytime distress and impairment in functioning. Sleep-wake disorders often occur along with medical conditions or other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive disorders. There are several different types of sleep-wake disorders, of which insomnia is the most common. Other sleep-wake disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep problems include:

  • Quality of sleep
  • Timing of sleep
  • Amount of sleep

Sleep difficulties are linked to both physical and emotional problems. Sleep problems can both contribute to or exacerbate mental health conditions and can be a symptom of other mental health conditions. About one-third of adults report insomnia symptoms and 6-10 percent meet the criteria for insomnia disorder.

What Are the Different Types of Insomnia?

There are an infinite number of reasons why any person would have trouble sleeping. If an individual’s insomnia can be linked to another medical condition such as depression or even heartburn, then it is categorized as secondary insomnia.

Another type of insomnia called primary insomnia describes a situation in which the person does not have any other associated conditions with their sleeping disorder.

What’s the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Insomnia?

An additional distinction exists between insomnia that lasts for a short period (acute insomnia) and insomnia that lasts long-term (chronic insomnia).

Acute insomnia typically applies to those who experience insomnia as a result of stress or other serious events going on in their personal lives. For example, you may find it difficult to sleep for several weeks after the passing of a loved one, but eventually, your sleep schedule will stabilize again. In addition to stress, other common causes of acute insomnia include:

  • New medications
  • Environmental factors such as loud noises or temperature fluctuations
  • Illness
  • Physical discomfort
  • Sudden changes in your sleep schedule like switching from working a day shift to a night shift

Those with chronic insomnia will find that their sleeping issues exist no matter what is or is not happening in their personal life. Chronic insomnia generally lasts much longer than acute insomnia and is often caused by:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Persistent stress
  • Physical discomfort

Diagnosis and Treatment for Insomnia

It is important to talk with Dr. Gardner if you notice that you have difficulty sleeping for approximately three nights out of the week. First, Dr. Gardner will start the process of diagnosing your insomnia by completing a physical exam to see if there is any reason why you would be experiencing significant discomfort at night.

It can also be helpful to keep track of your symptoms by writing them down in a sleep journal. The more information you are able to give your doctor, the better. Additional sleep tests may be conducted by a specialist if necessary.

Once the cause of a patient’s insomnia has been determined, the doctor will move on to helping them find a suitable treatment option such as:

  • Lifestyle changes to encourage good sleeping habits
  • Prescribed medication
  • Behavioral therapy teaches sleep techniques for proper relaxation

In cases of chronic insomnia, it is important to treat the underlying condition that is leading to the person’s disordered sleeping. This can address emotional issues, physical issues, or both. Over-the-counter sleeping pills are not recommended for people who suffer from insomnia, as they do not remain effective long-term.


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No two patients are alike, which is why Melaine takes an individualized approach to each patient she treats. If you have been struggling to focus in school, at work, and at home please call (469) 389-0960.