Adjustment Insomnia: temporary insomnia caused by life stress. It may begin quickly or slowly, depending on the type of stress. It usually lasts a few days to weeks and not longer than three months. Sleep problems end when life stress ends, or you adapt to it. Some sources of stress that contribute to adjustment insomnia include: the death of a loved one, conflict in a relationship, a new job, moving, and illness. It is only necessary to seek medical attention if the problem continues to persist or worsen after three months.

Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood: a disorder of childhood that develops when a child will not go to sleep on time without an enforced bedtime. The child will stay awake for hours if allowed but sleeps well when a bedtime is strictly (though not violently) enforced. Well-meaning parents sometimes cuddle or rock a child to sleep as a way to comfort the child, but the child fails to learn how to sleep on her own. A pediatrician or sleep specialist can offer effective ways to direct the child’s sleep. If not addressed, the child may become seriously sleep-deprived. (See also Children and Sleep.)

Fatal Familial Insomnia: an extremely rare, fatal form of insomnia related to a prion or abnormal protein in the brain. The presence of the protein develops because of an extremely rare genetic mutation (only forty families in the United States carry it). As the protein builds, it damages the thalamus or area of the brain that controls sleep and wakefulness. Symptoms begin with difficulty sleeping but rapidly progress until dementia sets in. Patients become trapped between sleep and wakefulness. After eight to 72 months, the lack of sleep kills all patients with this disease.

Insomnia Due to a Drug or Substance: sleep disruption due to the ingestion of over-the counter or prescription medications, alcohol, caffeine, or recreational drugs. Difficulty falling or staying asleep may still exist when not taking the drug but is made considerably worse while on it. Caffeine and amphetamines commonly induce insomnia. Alcohol produces “rebound wakefulness” when the initial sedative effect wears off, approximately four hours after ingestion. For some people, food allergies can keep them awake at night. A doctor may be able to adjust the dosage or type of medication. Alcohol and other recreational drugs should be modified or avoided. (See also Drugs and Sleep.)

Insomnia Due to a Medical Condition: the inability to sleep directly due to a medical condition. Patients experience difficulty falling or staying asleep. Many diseases impose insomnia, especially if pain and discomfort are present. Cancer, lung disease, asthma, spine or brain injuries are likely to disturb sleep. The last trimester of pregnancy keeps many women awake at night. Sleep problems related to menopause are also common. The doctor treating the aggravating condition or a sleep specialist will treat sleep issues with respect to the patient’s health. Good sleep behaviors or changes in medication may help. (See also Physical Illness and Sleep.)

Insomnia Due to a Mental Condition: insomnia that is precipitated by a mental health disorder. Sometimes, insomnia is so closely associated with a psychiatric condition as to be a symptom of it. Anxiety and depression are likely to disturb sleep. People with anxiety have difficulty falling asleep. Those with depression may wake up for long hours during the night. Psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and phobias may also disturb sleep, in some people. If severe enough, insomnia must be treated as a separate disorder by a sleep specialist. (See also Mental Illness and Sleep.)

Suggested Downlaods

SleepIssues:Can’t Sleep
SleepCaptions: Additional Insomnias
Physical Illness or Injury
Psychological Illness or Injury
Drugs and Sleep