While many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, not all of our struggles are the same. New research examined a range of reasons why people don’t sleep well and found that insomnia generally falls into one of five types. Which type you fit into, the study suggests, affects which solutions may help you break out of the sleep-loss pattern.
Insomnia is a disorder characterized by “chronic complaints of unsatisfactory sleep, despite having an adequate opportunity to sleep” according to the National Sleep Foundation. Insomnia complaints include “difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, and/or having sleep that is not refreshing.”
The researchers analyzed survey responses from more than 4,000 people participating in the Netherlands Sleep Registry, a project that tracks information on the factors affecting sleep habits. Roughly half the participants in this group had insomnia, as indicated by their responses, although none had been formally diagnosed. When checked against several other factors—including personality traits, emotional dispositions, and mood characteristics—the results pointed to five categories of insomnia:
Type 1: People in this category tended to have high levels of negative emotions like anxiety, and low levels of pleasurable emotions and overall happiness.
Type 2: These participants had moderate levels of emotional distress, but their levels of pleasurable emotions and happiness were normal, on average.
Type 3: People in this group also had moderate levels of distress, but experienced lower-than-average levels of pleasure and happiness.
Type 4: These participants had low levels of distress, but tended to experience chronic insomnia in response to a stressful event.
Type 5: Finally, those in this group also had low levels of distress, and their variety of insomnia wasn’t typically affected by stressful events.