A patient with insomnia is characterized as having issues falling asleep or having a consistent sleeping pattern. Those with insomnia exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Feeling tired upon waking

Typically there are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia occurs when a patient is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia involves a patient who is having sleep problems that are attributed to a specific cause, such as a health condition (like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn); pain; medication they are taking; or a substance they are using (like alcohol). Insomnia also varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. It can be short-term (acute insomnia) or can last a long time (chronic insomnia). It can also come and go, with periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.