If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may be part of the 25% of Americans who suffer from insomnia. Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) and can significantly impact your physical and mental health.
Before you lose another night’s sleep, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re going to share with you what you need to know about insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
At some point in life, most adults experience acute insomnia, which can last for days or even weeks and is typically the result of stress or trauma. Chronic insomnia lasts for over a month and could be the problem in itself or associated with another medical condition or medication.
Some common causes of acute insomnia may include the following:
- Stress — Do you ever feel like your mind just won’t stop when you lay down to sleep? Stressing about work, school, family, health, and finances can keep your mind active when you’re trying to sleep. In addition, traumatic or stressful life events such as the illness or death of a loved one, losing your job, or divorce can also lead to insomnia.
- Your schedule — Circadian rhythms are like our internal clock, and they guide things like your metabolism, body temperature, and your sleep-wake cycle. When your circadian rhythms are disrupted by events such as working an early or a late shift, changing shifts frequently, and jet lag from crossing time zones, it can make it hard to sleep.
- Bad sleep habits — Irregular bedtimes, stimulating activities close to bedtime, daytime naps, uncomfortable sleeping environments, and using your bed for activities such as working, watching television, or eating are some bad sleep habits that can cause insomnia.
- Overeating too late in the evening — A light snack before bed shouldn’t cause a problem, but overeating before bed can make laying down uncomfortable. It can also cause heartburn which can keep you from falling asleep.
Chronic insomnia may be caused by:
- Mental health issues — Many mental health disorders can cause chronic insomnia. The most common are anxiety disorders such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and depression.
- Medication — Prescription medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure, and asthma medications can interfere with a good night’s sleep. There are also over-the-counter medications like cold and allergy, pain medication, and some weight-loss products containing caffeine and other stimulants.
- Health conditions — Chronic pain, diabetes, asthma, cancer, overactive thyroid, heart disease, GERD, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s are some medical conditions that can cause insomnia.
- Sleep disorders — Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing throughout the night, causing you to wake throughout the night. In addition, restless leg syndrome (RLS) can cause an irresistible desire to move your limb, making it challenging to fall asleep.
- Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine — Caffeine is a stimulant, so if you are drinking cola, tea, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening, you may find that you have trouble falling asleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so using tobacco products before bed can also affect sleep. And while alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it interferes with your ability to reach deeper sleep stages which can lead to waking up often throughout the night.
Did you know that age can also affect your chances of experiencing insomnia? As you get older, you may notice the following.
- Your sleep patterns change — Noise and other environmental changes tend to wake you more often. Your internal clock also changes as you age, meaning you will start getting tired earlier, and wake up earlier. However, you will still need to get the standard amount of sleep as younger adults.
- Activity levels change — If you are less active, it can interfere with your sleep. Inactivity can also lead to napping during the day, which can interfere with sleep.
- Health problems — Chronic pain, anxiety, or depression caused by health problems can cause insomnia. Sleep apnea and RLS are also more common as you get older.
- More medication — The older we get, the more medications we tend to take, which can lead to insomnia caused by those medications.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Here are some common symptoms of insomnia.
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up throughout the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling rested after sleeping
- Daytime sleepiness
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Problems focusing or remembering things
- An increase in accidents or errors
- Constant worrying about sleep
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, or if insomnia makes it difficult to function during the day, talk to your doctor. They can help identify the problem and how to treat it effectively. If they believe you have a sleep disorder, they may refer you to a sleep center for specialized testing.
Let DreamZz Sleep Center Help You Sleep Well
Quality sleep is as vital to your health as physical activity and eating healthy. Regardless of the cause of your insomnia, sleep loss can lead to a lower quality of life. It also puts you at a higher risk of severe long-term health problems, and it puts you at a higher risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
At DreamZz Sleep Center, we can help you overcome insomnia. It’s our goal to get to the bottom of your sleep problems and help you get a good night’s sleep. We guarantee a consultation within two weeks of your initial call, which means you can start treatment in as little as a month!
Contact us today, and sleep well!