Differentiating Between Primary and Secondary Insomnia

Aging well

The Two Faces of Insomnia

The sleep disorder known as insomnia affects millions of adults all over the world. It is characterised by regular sleep disturbances, an inability to fall asleep naturally, or relentless nightly waking that makes a full night of sleep nearly impossible to accomplish.

There are several factors involved that may cause or perpetuate this common problem, but the first thing you need to understand is that there are two completely different types of insomnia which can develop.

  • Primary insomnia
  • Secondary insomnia

Both can range in severity between mild and chronic, and both can be incredibly difficult to endure (some people may go for years without a full night of sleep). Although these two insomnia types are similar in the sense that they are inherently identified as disturbed or disrupted sleep cycles, what separates them are their causes.

Primary (Idiopathic) Insomnia         

This form of insomnia can be identified by its indifference. Primary insomnia is an inherent sleep dysfunction which is not caused by any exterior factors and therefore cannot be treated by changes in environment, behaviour, or otherwise. It is an isolated disorder, which makes it quite challenging to treat successfully.

People with primary insomnia tend to develop their disorder at a young age and live with it for a longer period of time than those with secondary insomnia purely because the cause is so difficult to grasp – and without being able to grasp what the cause of a disorder is, how can one treat it?

Often those who have dealt with primary insomnia for many years will develop something called paradoxical insomnia – a subcategory of insomnia in which an affected person will understand that they have the disorder, but lack active cognizance of the long-term symptoms such as general fatigue, lack of focus, and memory deterioration. Their bodies become adjusted to the sleep deficiency as a means of self-preservation, but their mental health may suffer due to it. This is extremely unhealthy as the body does not stop needing good sleep, it just stops trying to pretend as though it receives it.

Secondary (Comorbid) Insomnia

Secondary insomnia is significantly more common and much easier to treat than primary insomnia. The most notable difference is the fact that it is characterised by a direct link to some external factor that physically disrupts sleep and prevents proper rest from occurring.

External factors commonly include things like illness or pain, jet lag, anxiety, bright lights, loud noises, or an uncomfortable sleeping environment. The presence of these factors are easy enough to identify, allowing treatment to be a much simpler and more obvious process. By removing or treating the cause of your dysfunction, you can quickly restore your sleep cycle to an optimal status. This means you’ll enjoy life more, have more fun when you play for real money, and be more alert and aware.

If you are struggling to sleep through the night, considering the nature of your sleep environment can be the first step towards effectively treating (the right kind!) of insomnia.