The key difference between acute and chronic insomnia is that acute insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts from 1 night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts from 3 nights a week for 3 months or more.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It may cause trouble falling, staying, or getting good quality sleep. Insomnia happens even if people have time and the right environment to sleep well. Moreover, insomnia also affects the daily activities of people. Insomnia can be short-term or long-term. In fact, there are two types of insomnia called acute and chronic insomnia.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Acute Insomnia
3. What is Chronic Insomnia
4. Similarities – Acute and Chronic Insomnia
5. Acute vs. Chronic Insomnia in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Acute vs Chronic Insomnia
What is Acute Insomnia?
Acute insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts for less than three months. It is also known as adjustment insomnia, short-term insomnia, stress-related insomnia, or transient insomnia. The typical symptoms of this condition may include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, awakening in the early morning, poor concentration, mood changes, social or vocational dysfunction, tension, headache, or stomach problems. Moreover, the potential causes of acute insomnia include changes in sounds, lighting, temperature, or other sleep conditions, medications such as stimulants, sedatives, use of caffeine or nicotine, alcohol withdrawal, pain, stress (job and grief-related), and nocturia.
Acute insomnia can be diagnosed through medical history, physical, psychological, and neurological examinations. Furthermore, acute insomnia usually may not need treatment. If it is hard for people to do everyday activities, acute insomnia may be treated through prescribing sleeping pills and other lifestyle changes like sticking to a sleep schedule, staying active, checking medications, avoiding naps, avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and avoiding large meals and beverages.
What is Chronic Insomnia?
Chronic insomnia or long-term insomnia lasts up to more than three months. The symptoms of this condition include trouble falling asleep, waking up throughout the night, trouble staying asleep, waking up too early, daytime sleepiness, not feeling rested after sleeping at night, irritability, mood changes, problems with memory, and increasing mistakes or accidents. Moreover, chronic insomnia can be caused by medical conditions such as respiratory conditions (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnoea), congestive heart failure, diabetes, acid reflux, hyperthyroidism, etc., medications or stimulants such as alcohol, antidepressants, beta blockers, caffeine, chemotherapy drugs, etc., lifestyle patterns such as rotating shift work, frequent travel across multiple areas, physical inactivity, frequent daytime napping, etc.
Chronic insomnia can be diagnosed through health history, physical examination, sleep habits review, and sleep study. Furthermore, treatment options for chronic insomnia may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), prescribing medications such as zolpidem, eszopiclone, zaleplon, doxepin, ramelteon, suvorexant, temazepam and over-the-counter aids such as diphenhydramine, doxylamine succinate, melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile tea.
What are the Similarities Between Acute and Chronic Insomnia?
- Acute and chronic insomnia are two types of insomnia.
- Both insomnia types may have similar symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, trouble staying asleep, awakening in the morning, etc.
- Both insomnia types can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, sleep review, etc.
- They are treated through lifestyle changes and sleeping pills.
What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Insomnia?
Acute insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts from 1 night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia is a type of insomnia that lasts from 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. Thus, this is the key difference between acute and chronic insomnia. Furthermore, acute insomnia is caused by changes in the noise, lighting, temperature, other sleep conditions, medications such as stimulants, sedatives, use of caffeine or nicotine, withdrawal of alcohol, pain, stress, and nocturia. On the other hand, chronic insomnia is caused by medical conditions such as respiratory conditions, medications or stimulants, and lifestyle patterns.
The infographic below presents the differences between acute and chronic insomnia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Acute vs. Chronic Insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people are not sleeping well as they should be. In this condition, people may have trouble sleeping or staying asleep. About 10% of the population of the world experience insomnia. Moreover, insomnia is of two types: short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute insomnia lasts for less than three months, while chronic insomnia lasts up to more than three months. So, this is the key difference between acute and chronic insomnia.
1. “Sudden Insomnia: What Causes It, Treatment, and More.” Medical News Today.
2. “Chronic Insomnia – An Overview.” ScienceDirect.
1. “Depiction of a person suffering from Insomnia (sleeplessness)” By Myupchar (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia