What are the Different Types of Insomnia Research?

Laura M. Sands

Insomnia research studies the various causes of insomnia, its effects on the mind and body, and works to discover new ways to treat or cure this disorder. Researchers also specifically study several different types of insomnia, as each type affects individuals differently and may need to be treated differently. A few of the most common types of insomnia research include studying its impact on women during pregnancy, as well as studying transient insomnia, chronic insomnia, primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.

A woman with insomnia.
A woman with insomnia.

Transient insomnia describes sleeplessness that only lasts for a short period. Insomnia research into this type shows it to be rooted in causes such as being too excited to sleep or struggling to solve a stressful problem at bedtime. Researchers have found that this type is most commonly due to stress or is a reaction to a recent change in a person’s life. Extreme weather changes, traveling through different time zones and hormonal changes may also contribute to the causes of transient insomnia. Insomnia research has found that this type is temporary and only disturbs a person’s rest from one or two nights up to a few weeks before disappearing.

Watching TV late at night can contribute to insomnia.
Watching TV late at night can contribute to insomnia.

In others, insomnia is a chronic condition occurring several times per week or more. Insomnia research has discovered that this type may be caused by poor sleep schedules, stress, anxiety, physical pain, illness, depression, caffeine stimulation and problems with the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Research has also found that drug abuse and certain prescription medications may also contribute to this type.

During pregnancy, it is not uncommon for hormonal and physical changes in a woman’s body to prevent her from getting a good night’s rest. While these changes are often expected and are not cause for deep concern, some women do develop insomnia during pregnancy. Insomnia research into this type has found that it most commonly occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy and may be due to an increase in the number of nightly bathroom visits likely caused by increased pressure on the bladder.

Insomnia research into secondary insomnia shows it to be a side effect of emotional stress, trauma, illness or physical pain. Insomnia research, however, has discovered that individuals suffering from primary insomnia, which is not rooted in stress or another underlying cause, may also be genetically predisposed to sleeplessness. It is estimated that more than one-third of all Americans suffering from chronic insomnia also have a family history of the sleep disorder.

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