How to Know if You Have Insomnia: Acute or Chronic

By Emily Sakzewski. Updated: August 31, 2020
How to Know if You Have Insomnia: Acute or Chronic

Do you struggle to fall asleep even when you're dog-tired? Or wake up in the middle of the night and can't to get back to sleep for hours? If you struggle to get a full, uninterrupted night of rest each night, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a condition that makes it hard or nearly impossible to sleep. Some conditions are worse than others and therefore there are two types of insomnia; acute and chronic. If left untreated, insomnia can cause serious health problems and the sleep deprivation can cause accidents. That's why it's important to identify whether you have insomnia, acute or chronic, so you can get on a path to recovery.

You may also be interested in: Is Too Much Sleep Bad for You?

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder where you struggle to fall or stay asleep, no matter how tired you feel. Insomnia is where you don't get enough sleep or have a poor quality sleep, preventing you from ever feeling rested and refreshed when you wake up. This can feel torturous at times and as a result, people with insomnia tend to feel fatigued, moody, have low energy and difficulty concentrating throughout the day. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, these are signs that you have insomnia.

Insomnia is more likely to affect some more than others. It very common amongst adults and research by the National Sleep Foundation has found that a higher percentage of women (compared with men) reported experiencing insomnia a few nights per week. Adults aged between 18 to 29 reported the most symptoms of insomnia and, interestingly, parents with children in the household were more likely to suffer insomnia than those without children in the household.

How to Know if You Have Insomnia: Acute or Chronic - What is insomnia?

Do you have insomnia?

We've all had a bad night's sleep and we can often feel drowsy during the day, but does this mean we have insomnia? You might be experiencing the symptoms of insomnia, but maybe you aren't sure whether you have a sleep disorder.

To know if you have insomnia, you should take into account the quality of your sleep, not the quantity. Six hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep is better than eight hours of on-and-off sleep. You could be sleeping the recommended eight hours every night and still suffer from insomnia because you're more likely to feel fatigued and drowsy during the day if you haven't had a solid night's sleep. So to know if you have insomnia, remember: quality, not quantity.

There is no official testing (like MRI or blood test) to diagnose insomnia. It is generally diagnosed by your general practitioner after routine examination. However, it's important to remember that insomnia can also be a symptom of a coexisting medical condition, mental illness, or a side effect from medication. In these instances additional testing may be required.

Types of insomnia: acute and chronic

Acute insomnia

Otherwise known as short-term insomnia, acute insomnia normally lasts for one or two nights a week for less than three months. Acute insomnia is usually characterised as being stress-related and has an identifiable cause. Perhaps you are going through a stressful work or study period where deadlines are approaching. Alternatively you could be experiencing relationship difficulties or any other periodic pressures.

Chronic insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a long-term sleep disorder where you suffer insomnia at least three nights a week for over a month. Chronic insomnia is usually a primary disorder, but can also be caused by other disorders; the most common cause being anxiety or depression.

How to Know if You Have Insomnia: Acute or Chronic - Types of insomnia: acute and chronic

So you have insomnia...Now what?

So you've identified that you have acute or chronic insomnia and you're wondering what you should do next. It's very important to try and treat your insomnia because sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on your health, work and relationships.

Once you've determined you have insomnia, it is important to find the cause of your insomnia. It could be that you have psychological issues like anxiety and depression. If you think you might be suffering a mental illness, visit a therapist to help you work through your issues. Relieving your mental stress will help you get a good night's sleep. Another cause could be a medical problem or illness. Things like asthma, allergies, Parkinson's disease, kidney disease, cancer and even chronic pain.

Insomnia can also be a side effect from prescribed medications. It's a common side effect to certain antidepressants, medications for ADHD, contraceptives or blood pressure medications. If you are taking any prescribed medication, this might be the cause of your insomnia and therefore you should consult your doctor.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if You Have Insomnia: Acute or Chronic, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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