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Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep.

The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go.

Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.

There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary.

  • Primary insomnia: This means your sleep problems aren’t linked to any other health condition or problem.
  • Secondary insomnia: This means you have trouble sleeping because of a health condition (like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn); pain; medication; or substance use (like alcohol).

You might also hear about:

  • Sleep-onset insomnia: This means you have trouble getting to sleep.
  • Sleep-maintenance insomnia: This happens when you have trouble staying asleep through the night or wake up too early.
  • Mixed insomnia: With this type of insomnia, you have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep through the night.
  • Paradoxical insomnia: When you have paradoxical insomnia, you underestimate the time you’re asleep. It feels like you sleep a lot less than you really do.

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