Insomnia, causes and solutions
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can significantly impact daytime functioning. It is estimated that up to 25% of the population suffers from some form of insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, including anxiety, stress, and a lack of sleep.
Symptoms of insomnia may include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Chronic insomnia is caused by a variety of factors, including:
Stress. Work, school, health, finances, or family concerns might keep your thoughts active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Insomnia can also be caused by stressful life events or trauma, such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or job loss.
Travel or job commitments. Circadian rhythms serve as an internal clock, directing your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism, and body temperature. Insomnia can be caused by disrupting your body’s circadian cycles. Jet lag from flying across many time zones, working a late or early shift, or often changing shifts are all possible causes.
Poor sleeping habits. An erratic bedtime routine, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an unpleasant sleep environment, and utilizing your bed for work, eating, or watching TV are all examples of poor sleep habits. Computers, televisions, video games, cellphones, and other displays right before bedtime might disrupt your sleep pattern.
Eating too much late at night. A modest snack before night is OK, but eating too much may induce physical discomfort while lying down. Many people also get heartburn, which is the back-flow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating and can keep you awake.
Chronic insomnia may also be linked to medical disorders or the use of certain medications. Although treating the medical issue may assist improve sleep, the insomnia may linger after the medical problem has been treated.
Insomnia can also be caused by the following factors:
Mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can cause sleep disruption. A premature awakening might be an indication of despair. Insomnia is frequently associated with other mental health issues.
Medications. Many prescription medicines, such as antidepressants and asthma or blood pressure medications, can disrupt sleep. Many over-the-counter drugs, including certain pain relievers, allergy and cold treatments, and weight-loss supplements, include caffeine and other stimulants that might interfere with sleep.
Medical problems. Chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart illness, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are some of the disorders associated with sleeplessness.
Sleep-related issues. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing at irregular intervals throughout the night, disrupting your sleep. Restless legs syndrome creates uncomfortable sensations in your legs as well as an almost irresistible need to move them, which can make it difficult to sleep.
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages Stimulants include coffee, tea, cola, and other caffeinated beverages. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening may keep you awake at night. Nicotine, found in cigarette products, is another stimulant that can disrupt sleep. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it also hinders deeper phases of sleep and frequently causes waking up in the middle of the night.
Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Whatever your reason for sleep loss, insomnia can affect you both mentally and physically. People with insomnia report a lower quality of life compared with people who are sleeping well.
Complications of insomnia may include:
- Lower performance on the job or at school
- Slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents
- Mental health disorders, such as depression, an anxiety disorder or substance abuse
- Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease
How is insomnia managed or treated?
Although Short-term insomnia frequently resolves on its own.There are a number of treatments available for insomnia:
CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia): CBT-I is a short, organized intervention for insomnia that helps you discover and replace sleep-inducing thoughts and actions with sleep-promoting routines. Unlike sleeping drugs, CBT-I assists you in overcoming the root reasons of your sleep issues.
Medications: Long-term sleep improvement is best achieved through behavioral and lifestyle changes. However, in certain circumstances, using sleeping medications for a brief period of time might help you sleep. Doctors advise taking sleep medications only on occasion or for a limited duration. They are not the first choice for chronic insomnia treatment.
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that promotes sleep. Some people take melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. But there’s no proof that these supplements work. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements the same as medications, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking one.
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Difficulty concentrating or memory problems.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Mood problems, such as anxiety, depression or irritability.
- More than three months of sleep problems.