Primary Insomnia: How to Identify


Primary insomnia is defined as insomnia not being the result of medical, psychiatric or environmental elements.

To be correctly identified as Primary insomnia a number of specific conditions must be present. These include:

  • At least a full month of being unable to get to sleep, or stay asleep throughout the night.
  • What sleep is obtained is not effective. That is, the sleep is not restorative.
  • Day time exhaustion must be present to the point where a person’s basic functioning is affected.

Primary insomnia is segmented into three classifications:

  • Psychophysiological Insomnia: Closely associated with existing levels of stress. Most often, the stress, tension and anxiety you are going through causes poor sleep patterns such as frequently waking up throughout the night, or experiencing difficulties in falling asleep. The good news is that Psychophysiological insomnia is not incurable. Most often sufferers are people who had good sleep patterns before they became stressed and once that stress is relieved, so is the insomnia. However, if the condition lasts long enough, the difficulty sleeping itself becomes a source of stress. This is known as behavioral, or learned, insomnia. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Interestingly, it is very common that those dealing with this can easily fall asleep anywhere except in their own bedrooms. Very often the physiological make up of sufferers indicate a strong tendency to hide their feelings.
  • Idiopathic Insomnia: This is a physical condition that is rare but does occur. It usually takes place because of a lesion on the area of the brain that is connected with waking. More generally, a number of neurological abnormalities can affect the awake-sleeping cycle.Most often the problems begin to show in early childhood. Also, those with Idiopathic insomnia have problems paying attention and concentrating. The person may also be hyperactive. If the person suffering this type of primary insomnia is also stressed, these symptoms are often worse.
  • Sleep State Misperception: This is a situation where the individual is convinced they have insomnia but there is no real evidence for it. Symptoms usually show themselves as complaints of insomnia even though the person has normal sleep patterns. This class of primary insomnia is also known as sleep hypochondriasis. It can be severe enough to cause depression and anxiety during waking hours. Therapy is most often psychological counseling.

In the end, if you or a loved one is dealing with one type or another of primary insomnia, which one really doesn’t matter. What is important is that you seek help from professionals.

Begin with your family practitioner as you may be helped with something as simple as a minor lifestyle change. For more serious situations your physician may recommend you seek the services of a sleep professional.

Regardless of which type of primary insomnia you are dealing with, help is available.