Sleep disorders – what is acute insomnia

Sleep disorders such as insomnia are one of the most common sleep disorders and it is characterized by having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. There are multiple types of insomnia based on the duration and potential causes. One of the types of insomnia lasting three months or less is acute insomnia.

Sleep disorders – what is acute insomnia

Acute insomnia or short-term insomnia lasts less than 3 months and is often related to in time to an identifiable cause. Acute insomnia is when you have difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep, and when you sleep it’s either non-refreshing or of poor quality. You may also experience morning awakenings, and these problems may result in poor concentration, low energy, and problems with daytime function.

Other types of insomnia are;

  • Adjustment insomnia
  • Short-term insomnia
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Transient insomnia

Sleep disorders – Symptoms

sleep disorders symptoms of acute insomnia

At some point, adults experience short-term or acute insomnia, some may last for days, and others may last for weeks. What are the symptoms of acute insomnia?

  • Difficulty in falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Daytime sleepiness and tiredness
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty remembering things or focusing on tasks
  • Increased errors or accidents

Sleep disorders – causes of acute insomnia

Before we discuss the causes of acute insomnia, we should first cover the different types of insomnia to fully address the type of sleep disorder that you might have.

Sleep disorders type 1 – Primary insomnia

Primary insomnia is when a person is having sleep problems that is not directly associated with any other health conditions or problems.

Sleep disorders type 2 – Secondary insomnia

Secondary insomnia means that a person is having problems due to health conditions such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer or heartburn, or because of pain, or medications the person is taking. Alcohol may also be a factor.

Sleep disorders – acute vs. chronic insomnia

Insomnia also varies in how long it lasts and how often it happens for a person. Insomnia can be short-term which is called acute insomnia, or insomnia may last a long time which is chronic insomnia. Insomnia may come and go, with period of time when a person has no sleep problems.

Acute insomnia can last from one night or up to a few weeks. It is called chronic insomnia when a person has insomnia at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or longer.

Causes of insomnia;

  • Stressful life style ( job loss, work environment, death of a loved one, divorce, moving to a new place, change in work schedule)
  • Illness or diseases
  • Emotional or physical stress
  • Environmental factors such as too hot or too cold can interfere with sleep
  • Medications for allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma
  • Change in time-zone or switching from day to night shift.

Causes of chronic insomnia may include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Chronic stress
  • Pain or discomfort due to illness

Sleep disorders – diagnosing insomnia

If you are suspecting insomnia, it is best to talk to your health care provider. An evaluation may include; a physical exam, a medical history, and sleep history. You may be asked to keep a sleep tracker or sleep diary for a week or two, keeping track of your sleep patterns and how you feel during the day. Your doctor may want to interview your bed partner about the quantity and quality of your sleep. In some cases, you may be referred to a sleep center for special tests. (Source – WebMD)

Sleep disorders – you don’t have to put up with sleepless nights

Sleep disorders are incredibly frustrating to experience; fortunately, simple changes may be helpful in many ways. You could practice good sleep hygiene, manage and track your sleep pattern and habits, create a new healthy lifestyle and remove any bad habits such as smoking before bedtime, drinking soda or coffee few hours before bedtime.