Anyone who suffers from insomnia, obviously has trouble sleeping. However, there is not one definitive type of insomnia all insomnia sufferers experience. There are in fact several different types of insomnia that an insomnia sufferer may have to deal with.
Most people are aware of the type of insomnia that prevents sufferers falling asleep. This is sometimes called initial insomnia. But, there is another type of insomnia that causes sleeplessness through the night. This is middle-of-the-night insomnia.
Those who suffer from middle-of-the-night insomnia – also referred to as middle insomnia and maintenance insomnia – may fall asleep relatively quickly, but they will then wake up through the night, and find it incredibly difficult to fall back asleep.
When middle insomnia results in a restless night or a sleepless night, when it means an inability to sleep at night or results in a lack of sleep that leaves sufferers feeling unrefreshed in the morning, it can become a serious problem.
But in order to solve that problem, it’s essential to know what causes it. Just like initial insomnia, middle insomnia can have many causes, many of which start with sleep disruption.
Sleep disruption can often be a result of age. As we get older, our sleep tends to get lighter, which results in broken sleep at night. Similarly, women who are pregnant or going through menopause may suffer from disrupted sleep.
Sleep disruption may be also caused by a medical issue. Someone who is overweight, or who has sleep apnoea or chronic pain may suffer from disrupted sleeping. Similarly, the issue may be based in the brain. If someone is suffering from stress, depression or anxiety, insomnia will often go hand-in-hand with these issues.
Sleep disruption could also be associated with eating large meals or having too much sugar before bed, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or having too much screen time too close to bedtime. External factors can similarly disrupt sleep, such as sleeping in a room that’s too cold or too hot, hearing noises outside, or having a sleep partner who moves around a lot or snores.
Most people suffer from some kind of restlessness, sleeplessness or insomnia at some point in their lives. But when does it become something to worry about?
When dealing with insomnia, professionals often point to the rule of threes. If middle insomnia occurs at least three nights a week, where the sufferer stays awake for 30 minutes or more, and this lasts for at least 30 days, it may be time to seek help.
Until that point, there are some ways middle insomnia sufferers can stay asleep – and get back to sleep.