Objectives: Vulnerability to transient insomnia is regarded as a predisposing factor for chronic insomnia. However, most individuals with transient insomnia do not develop chronic insomnia. The current study investigated the differential contributing factors for these two conditions to further the understanding of this phenomenon. Method: Chronic insomnia patients and normal sleepers with high and low vulnerability to transient insomnia completed measures of pre-sleep arousal, dysfunctional sleep beliefs, and sleep-related safety behaviors. Results: Both cognitive and somatic pre-sleep arousals were identified as significant predictors for transient insomnia. Dysfunctional beliefs regarding worry about insomnia and cognitive arousal were predictors for chronic insomnia. Sleep-related safety behavior, although correlated with insomnia severity, was not a significant predictor for both conditions. Conclusions: Dysfunctional beliefs associated with worry and losing control over sleep are the most critical factors in differentiating chronic insomnia from transient insomnia. These factors should be addressed to help prevent individuals with high sleep vulnerability from developing chronic sleep disturbance.