There are 5 categories of insomnia. This new classification, more precise, should make it possible to better adapt treatments to fight against this sleep disorder.
Fatigue, drowsiness, risk of depression, mood disorders ... Insomnia may be a common sleep disorder, but its consequences on our physical and mental health are real. According to the 2010 Health Barometer produced by the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education, 15.8% of 15-85 year olds suffer from chronic insomnia.
Affecting more women than men, insomnia is, according to researchers, the second most common mental disorder in adults. However, it is often an enigma for doctors, who sometimes struggle to find the origin, because of the different brain mechanisms involved, but also to prescribe an effective treatment, whether medicated or not.
New work, conducted by the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience and published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, could advance research on the treatment of insomnia. According to the authors of this new study, indeed, there are 5 types of insomnia. "Although we have always considered insomnia as a single disorder, it actually represents five different disorders.The underlying mechanisms of the brain can be very different.For comparison, advances in our understanding of dementia have been propelled once we realized that there are different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's dementia, vascular dementia and frontal and temporal dementia, "said in a statement Dr. Tessa Blanken, the main author of 'study.
Insomnia related to personality types
To analyze the different types of insomnia, researchers asked more than 4,000 people to self-report their insomnia experience, as well as their history and personality type. From these data, they managed to identify some trends that allowed them to divide insomnia into 5 different categories.
To the scientists' surprise, these types of insomnia are not related to the sleep disorder itself, such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up early in the morning, but to the response of the electroencephalogram to environmental stimuli, which was different.
Here are the 5 types of insomniac profiles they were able to obtain from the results obtained:
-Type 1: very distressed, concerns people suffering from neurosis and who tend to feel tense, depressed or anxious.
-Type 2: moderately distressed and reward-sensitive. This concerns people who do not suffer from neurosis, but who react strongly to rewards and positive events.
-Type 3: moderately distressed but insensitive to rewards. This concerns people who do not suffer from neurosis and do not react strongly to rewards and positive events.
-Type 4: slightly in difficulty with a high reactivity, that is to say a low level of constant distress, but very sensitive to the stressful events of life.
-Type 5: slightly in difficulty with a low reactivity, that is to say a low level of constant distress, but also a low sensitivity to stressful life events.
Different insomnia, different treatments
The insomniac volunteers again participated in tests five years after their first participation. Most have retained the same type of insomnia, suggesting "an anchor in the brain," say the researchers. For the latter, "the underlying mechanisms can now be better mapped through brain research, subtyping was also clinically relevant".
This will also make it easier to adapt the treatment of insomnia (sleeping pills or cognitive-behavioral therapy) according to the category to which it belongs. Finally, say the authors of the study, this "subtyping now allows a much more effective research on the prevention of depression, specifically inviting those most at risk." The researchers have now undertaken a study on the prevention of depression in people with insomnia and categorized as those most vulnerable to this problem.