Staying well-rested is a great way to feel happy, boost memory, and stay healthy. Experts recommend adults get somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This much sleep helps us to form new memories, grow and repair muscle tissue, fight infections, and so much more.
But some people struggle to get just a few hours of sleep. In fact, as many as 70% of Americans report that they don’t get this much sleep. And nearly one-third of Americans report sleeping less than 6 hours per night.
So how can you get better sleep if you are one of the Americans who are going without? Well to start, you can try to identify what type of insomnia you have. Then, you can look for a solution that may work best for you.
Keep reading to learn about the different types of insomnia and what you can do about them.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. It affects a huge portion of the population. According to the Sleep Foundation, between 10% to 30% of American adults struggle with insomnia every year.
Insomnia is a very serious condition that needs to be addressed. It is a condition that can steal all of your energy. This can affect everything from your mood to your appetite and your quality of life. Doing everyday tasks like driving or working can become dangerous if you are too sleepy to safely function. Drowsiness can decrease reaction times and decrease coordination.
There are a few different types of insomnia. Having this condition in any of its forms can be devastating to well-being. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to function at an optimal level. If you are getting less than this and feel like you are run down it may be time to speak with a medical professional about whether or not you have insomnia.
Short-Term or Acute Insomnia
Short-term insomnia lasts for three months or less. The symptoms of acute insomnia usually fade away on their own with the passing of time. But sometimes sleep issues can worsen, leading to chronic insomnia.
It is usually adults that experience short-term insomnia but it may affect children as well. Women most often struggle with acute insomnia. It commonly occurs during pregnancy.
Cases of acute insomnia can come and go in just a couple of days. But more severe cases can last weeks. This type of insomnia is usually a response to stress or trauma.
For example, many young adults experience short-term insomnia after moving out on their own for the first time. Getting used to a new house, a new job, or a new city can be a shocking experience that impacts sleep. After some getting used to things and settling into a schedule this type of acute insomnia usually goes away on its own.
If sleepless nights continue for a month or more, this may be considered long-term, or chronic insomnia. It may be time to seek the help of a professional to determine if treatment is needed.
Some of the common causes of acute insomnia include:
- New environments
- Extreme noise
- A new bed or uncomfortable mattress
- A new job or a new school
- Jet lag
- Deadlines or important dates
- Trauma like the death of a loved one
- Relationship trouble
- Some types of medications
- Minor illnesses or allergies
Insomnia that lasts longer than a couple of months is considered long-term, or chronic insomnia. The general rule of thumb provided by doctors is that if you suffer from difficulties sleeping for at least three days a week for three months or longer then you may be experiencing chronic insomnia.
Sometimes chronic insomnia can be tied to stressful situations, just like short-term insomnia. But it can also be attributed to other things like poor sleep hygiene, irregular sleep schedules, nightmares, mental health disorders, medications, a bed partner, underlying physical or neurological disorders, or other sleep disorders.
People of any age can develop chronic insomnia. It is more commonly experienced by women.
Some of the common conditions that lead to chronic insomnia include:
- Acid reflux disease
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid disease.
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Blood pressure medication,
- Respiratory medications
- Central nervous system stimulants like caffeine or nicotine
- Frequent travel
Insomnia is classified mainly as short-term or chronic insomnia. But there are other terms that may be used to describe types of insomnia that are more specific. Making distinctions between different types of insomnia allows researchers and medical professionals to better categorize and analyze each condition. And find the most appropriate way to treat each type.
Sleep Onset Insomnia
This type of insomnia is specific to those who have trouble falling asleep. It can be both short-term and chronic. Either way, it can produce symptoms that include mood swings, depression, loss of libido, anxiety, irritability, and poor coordination.
People who suffer from this type of insomnia often toss and turn throughout the night without ever getting to doze off for real sleep. Most of those who deal with this type of insomnia struggle to fall asleep even after laying in bed for 20 to 30 minutes.
This reduces the amount of sleep time a person gets and can significantly impact their ability to function properly the next day.
Some people may be able to fall asleep with ease but have trouble staying asleep. Maintenance insomnia is the term that describes this sleep condition.
Sometimes people with maintenance insomnia wake up too early and then can’t go back to sleep. It is common for people battling maintenance insomnia to wake up at least once during the night (if not many more times) and struggle to fall back asleep. They may often need to lay in bed for 30 minutes or more before drifting back off.
This fragments sleep time and create a pattern of poor sleep maintenance. That means people with maintenance insomnia experience a decrease in sleep quality as well as quantity. This often results in daytime sleepiness.
This type of insomnia is often caused by chronic medical conditions or conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress. Some of the medical conditions that can cause it to include asthma and other respiratory conditions, nose block and sinus allergies, restless leg syndrome, acid reflux disease, and chronic pain.
Early Morning Awakening Insomnia
If you wake up far before your alarm clock in the morning and find yourself wishing you could go back to sleep, you might be experiencing early morning awakening insomnia. This condition wakes up people before they mean to and keeps them from falling back to sleep.
Some sleep experts consider this to be the same thing as maintenance insomnia, while others think it is distinguished enough to have its own characterization.
Physical and mental functioning is directly impacted by how much sleep a person gets. Waking up too soon decreases the amount of sleep time a person gets and can negatively impact their day. So even if you sleep well at the night but jump out of bed too early in the morning, you may still have a form of insomnia that needs attention.
This is not a formal type of insomnia, but rather a casual term used to describe someone who suffers from a number of different sleep conditions. They can be a mix of things like sleep onset, sleep maintenance, and early morning awakenings.
People who deal with insomnia can have their symptoms shift over time. This makes it hard to classify insomnia into just one of the subsets. That is why this general term is used so often, as many people with insomnia have overlapping sleep problems.
Researchers used to believe that insomnia was a symptom of another more serious health condition. Anxiety, depression, or physical pain are some of the conditions once believed to produce insomnia.
But, current research has furthered the understanding of how insomnia relates to other conditions. It often has a bidirectional relationship with health issues, meaning that insomnia and other issues like anxiety may certainly exacerbate one another. But that does not mean that they caused each other. Nor does it mean that insomnia will go away just because anxiety does, or vice versa.
It is difficult to identify comorbid conditions as there are usually a number of underlying conditions going on at the same time.
Because of this, the terminology used to describe insomnia and other sleep conditions have moved to a more broad understanding of the subject.
What Can You Do About Insomnia?
There are a couple of treatment options for people dealing with insomnia. Often people start with a multidisciplinary approach to treatment that includes a couple of different options.
Some people try cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a way to address behavior that is not conducive to good sleep. It focuses on changing the ways we think, the ways we do things, and how we sleep.
For example, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may include education about how stimulants affect the brain and sleep cycles. Then it may be paired with a monthly meal plan that limits or excludes caffeine or alcohol intake.
Or, it could include adjusting room temperature or getting rid of a TV. The idea is that changing the mindset and the actions that lead to how we sleep can change how we sleep.
Some people try relaxation therapy to deal with their insomnia. This therapy aims to reduce stress and anxiety which can be helpful as stress is a leading cause of sleep issues. Reducing stress can lead to reduced hormones that keep us feeling alert and awake.
Practicing relaxation exercises that lower heart rate and blood pressure may be helpful in relaxing the body. As well as ones that work at slowing down and deepening the breath. They are most effective when paired with a cognitive treatment plan that focuses on creating a healthy sleep routine.
Sleep restriction therapy is a type of treatment that addresses whether a person is spending too much time in bed. Excessive time in bed can lead to insomnia. So, although it may seem counterintuitive at first, people suffering from this type of insomnia may just need to get a little less sleep.
As an alternative to these types of therapies, you can choose to take medication for insomnia. The types of medications available include sedative-hypnotic drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, or other drugs. You need to speak with a physician to see if there are options that may work for you. Then they can prescribe the appropriate medication.
If you want to avoid prescription drugs there are over-the-counter options.
For example, you can try a plant-based approach by taking supplements or adjusting your diet. You can make minor changes that produce big impacts if you focus on a few things that are tied to poor sleep.
Avoid caffeinated beverages like soda in the late afternoon or evening. Also, try to avoid having alcohol in the evening. And eat dinner no later than a few hours before you plan to go to bed. Consuming these types of drinks or large amounts of food right before bed has been tied to poor sleep.
For added support, you can take a supplement to help your body become more restful. CBD is one option that can be specially formulated to assist with sleep support.
CBD and Insomnia
CBD is a cannabinoid that has exciting therapeutic potential. It is being studied for a number of types of therapies, but one that gets considerable attention is how CBD may be able to help with sleep.
There are a number of studies that consider the effects CBD has on sleep. It is an increasingly popular option for sleep support as it can help people to relax and can even cause drowsiness when taken in large enough doses. Yet, it is free from the risk of dependence or abuse that comes with many prescription drug options.
And CBD products can be formulated to offer maximum sleep support by being combined with other natural sleep aid ingredients like melatonin.
Find A Quality CBD for Insomnia
Insomnia can pop up in a number of ways. It can clear up in a few days, or persist for month-long periods of time.
There is still a lot of work to be done to fully understand the nuances between all types of insomnia and how they can be treated.
For now, a simple solution may be a combination of healthy sleep habits and a CBD supplement. Our Yummy CBD Sleep oil is blended with melatonin to create the most relaxing effects that make your eyelids heavy.