Identify and overcome problems faced by various individuals who cannot sleep

insomnia is linked to endless exposure to blue light

what Is blue light?

a type of short-wavelength light that is usually emitted by digital devices - or circadian rhythms. More than any other color, blue light disrupts your body's ability to prepare for sleep because it inhibits a hormone called melatonin which makes you sleepy.

Sleeplessness affects people in vastly different ways. For some people, insomnia is linked to endless exposure to blue light.

while in others, it indicates a struggle with depression. Because there’s such a wide range of factors that can lead to the same condition.

To identify and overcome problems faced by various individuals who cannot sleep: the author of the 2019 Lancet Psychiatry paper proposes a different way of looking at insomnia by tracing it back to five personality types.

Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience researcher Tessa Blanken: argues that using personality traits and life histories (“non-sleep characteristics”) may be a better way to approach someone’s struggle to sleep.

The characteristics that we focus on are rooted in the functions and structure of the brain, and are therefore stable over time. "will hopefully make it easier to offer targeted care to them.

We thought we might look into different characteristics that inform the context in which insomnia develops and persists,” she tells Inverse.

This conclusion after analyzing the life history details and personality traits of 2,224 participants diagnosed with probable insomnia disorder between 2010 and 2016.

The results of his analysis grouped individuals into five personality types characterized by the same reasons for insomnia - and suggested different ways to treat them.

Type One: Highly Distressed

Blanken described The results of his insomnia analysis as "very depressed." They often report having a high level of arousal before going to sleep - which means they feel very active or anxious before going to sleep.

In general, type one individuals show a higher prevalence of depression throughout their lives compared to other subtypes.

People in this subtype have a high level of distress across most of the domains, they both report strong negative affect, but they also report a lack of positive effect or a lack of subjective happiness, Blanken says.

Type Two: Moderately Distressed, Reward Sensitive

For Type two, there are a lot of similarities with types, Blanken said. They tell of the high level of arousal before going to sleep and the negative influences in the mind.

Even though they do not show the same lack of general happiness that the first type of people does. These people are very depressed, Blanken said, but still showed "a whole response to pleasant emotions."

This group also reported higher levels of insomnia due to stress. In the paper, she hypothesizes that people who show these personality traits might be experiencing a type of insomnia called psychophysiological insomnia — in which stress oversleep itself can keep people awake.

Type Three: Moderately Distressed, Reward Insensitive

Blanken explains type three insomniacs were overwhelmingly defined by their low levels of positivity, both in comparison to controls and to types one and two.

They’re about as generally distressed about life as type twos but are insensitive to positive feelings. The third type has a really clear diminished positive affect and a really low subjective happiness, Blanken adds.

He also found that the third type tends to have a much lower level of depression than the second type, even though the level of difficulty is the same.

Type Four: Slightly Distressed, High Reactivity

Unlike types: one, two, and three, type four, tend to score lower in terms of general distress, according to Blanken’s analysis.

Instead, the chief driver of their sleeplessness was life events, a pattern the team identified by analyzing subjects’ life history data.

In these individuals, life events become dominant factors, such as financial difficulties or personal relationships that produce a longer and more sustainable amount of insomnia.

Those who are in this category also report always remembering the bad events recorded during childhood.

Type Five: Slightly Distressed, Low Reactivity

Like type four, Blanken believes that type five insomniacs also develop their insomnia largely due to life events:

Though they reported fewer adverse events during childhood and less acute responses to life events than type four. Instead, this group showed low levels of “behavioral activation which Blanken explains is a rough measure of motivation.

In both types four and five, she found that people tended to develop their insomnia later in life — specifically above the age of 40.

How Treatment Differs Between Groups

This classification isn’t just another personality test for insomniacs, says Blanken. There are important differences in the way each group responds to common treatments.

Those who experienced type two insomnia, for example, reported that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) actually alleviated their symptoms of insomnia.

By comparison, the type four insomniacs largely reported no change in their sleep patterns due to CBT.
Though she admits that this work is in its early stages, she believes this might indicate those type fours might benefit from a different type of therapy that addresses their adverse experiences during childhood.

This is really only the beginning. Ultimately, I would hope that it would help people by optimizing treatment,” she says.

She also showed than Benzodiazepine: a common drug used to treat insomnia, produced different side effects on some subtypes. It was effective in helping types two and three stay asleep but didn’t have the same effect on type three.

There she found it had a different effect: type three insomniacs reported significantly higher levels of fatigue during the day after taking the drug compared to other groups.

At this point, she was only able to demonstrate robust differences in treatment for three out of her five groups: hopes that by applying this framework she might be able to help people narrow in on what treatments might work best for their own type of insomnia.

Emma Betuel is a writer based in NYC. Previously, she covered health and biology for WBUR’s Commonhealth blog and The Borgen Project Magazine.

Last year, she spent too much time reading Darwin’s notes on pea plants. She recently started questioning the nature of her reality.

This post originally appeared on Inverse and was published on January 9, 2019. This article is published here with permission.