Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does Sleep Maintenance Insomnia mean?

Sleep maintenance insomnia is a disorder wherein the patient wakes up in the middle of the night and then has difficulty going back to sleep again. Anxiety, stress, depression, alcohol consumption, and medical conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, and sleep apnea can cause this condition. Women are more prone to this disorder after menopause. Sleep maintenance insomnia is also called sleep interruption insomnia.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Sleep maintenance insomnia is a peculiar type of sleeplessness wherein the patient wakes up in the middle of the night and then has difficulty falling asleep again. This lowers the quality of sleep and affects routine daytime activities.


Stress, anxiety, and depression can prevent a patient from falling asleep after waking. Further, worry about not being able to fall asleep causes even more anxiety and further sleeplessness. This establishes a vicious cycle of worry. Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol can also cause this condition. Other causes may include medical conditions such as asthma and sleep apnea that disturb normal breathing during sleep. Arthritis, back problems, and other conditions that cause chronic pain can also be enough to wake patients from sleep and then prevent them from easily returning to sleep. In addition, the incidence of sleep maintenance insomnia increases with age. Women, in particular, are more prone to this disorder as they age, specifically after menopause.


Treatment for sleep maintenance insomnia is dependent on the cause of the insomnia and may include medication or lifestyle changes.

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