What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep-disorder, which often makes it difficult for one to stay asleep or fall asleep, and it can also make you wake up way too early and not be able to get-sleep after. Often, individuals who have insomnia may feel tired when they wake up. As a result, it can affect your quality of life, work performance, mood, and energy level. Seven to eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep that adults should get each night. There are two types of insomnia, acute insomnia, and chronic insomnia. It is not uncommon for adults, at one point in their lives, to experience acute or short-term insomnia that may last for a couple of days or weeks. On the other hand, chronic insomnia can go for a month or more, and insomnia could be the root cause or it could be associated with the medication you are taking or a medical condition. Consider seeing a doctor if you have sleepless-nights. Often, they will recommend a few lifestyle changes that will help. It is vital to get help before it becomes a long-term problem.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia symptoms may include:
- Continuous worries about-sleep
- Difficulty in paying attention
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Sleepiness or tiredness during the day
- Not feeling well-rested when you wake up in the morning
- Waking up too early
- Waking up during the night
- Trouble falling asleep at night
Insomnia can be a problem on its own, or it can be caused by other factors, including psychological, physiological, and environmental factors. Insomnia can be resolved by treating the underlying cause, although in some cases, it may take years, especially if it is chronic insomnia. Below are some common causes of insomnia. Eating a lot in the evening might be a reason why you’re having trouble falling asleep. While it is okay to have a light snack before going to bed, eating a lot is not okay. It will make you feel uncomfortable physically when you lie in bed. It is also likely that you will have heartburn which will keep you up at night. Therefore, consider reducing your food intake before bed. Individuals with bad sleeping habits are likely to experience insomnia. Poor sleeping habits include stimulating activities before bed, irregular naps and bedtime schedule, using the bed for work, an uncomfortable sleeping environment, and watching TV or eating from your bed. Plenty of screen time before bed can also interfere with your sleeping-schedule, so it will help to cut down on your phone, TV, video games, and computer time before bed. Your work or travel schedule might also have an impact on your sleep. The circadian rhythms are your body’s internal clock, and they guide things like your body temperature, metabolism, and sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, you may experience insomnia if you disrupt this rhythm. Frequently changing your shifts, working early or night shifts, and traveling across different time zones are some of the factors that may affect your circadian rhythms
Stress is also a factor that can greatly affect sleep. Worrying about family, finances, health, and work can make it hard for you to get some-sleep at night and instead keep your mind active. Trauma and stressful life events can also be contributing factors to insomnia.Health problems can also contribute to insomnia, especially if you are dealing with chronic pain or are diagnosed with a chronic disease. Additionally, other sleep-disorders or neurological disorders can also cause insomnia. The medication you are on because of specific health problems can cause you to develop insomnia. This includes blood pressure and asthma medication as well as particular antidepressants. Most over-the-counter medicines also contain stimulants and caffeine that can disrupt your-sleep. Additionally, different mental health disorders can cause insomnia. For instance, depression can cause you to wake up too early, while anxiety can disrupt your-sleep. It is also worth mentioning that insomnia can also be linked to aging. As you age, your sleep-patterns change, and-sleep is less restful. The older you get, the more likely you may get on more medication, and there will be a change in your activity and health, which can all contribute to insomnia.
Insomnia Risk Factors
Most individuals, if not everyone, occasionally experience sleepless nights. However, the following individuals are at a higher risk of getting insomnia. If you have an irregular schedule; If you are constantly traveling or changing shifts at work, you are more likely to have insomnia since both disrupt your sleep/wake cycle. If you’re under stress, you may experience short-term insomnia due to stressful events. However, if you are experiencing long-lasting and significant stress in your life, you are more likely to develop chronic insomnia. If you’re of age 60 years and above, as mentioned earlier, with age, there is a significant change in your health and sleep-cycle, which can cause you to have insomnia. Often, women will experience hormonal shifts during menopause and when they are on their menstrual cycle, which can be contributing factors. Hot flashes and night sweats during menopause can disrupt your-sleep. It is also pretty common for women to get insomnia during pregnancy.
There is no particular test that can be used to diagnose insomnia. However, you can get a physical exam, and the doctor will also ask some questions about your symptoms and sleep-problems that will help them make a diagnosis. They will review any medication you are on and your medical history to see if they could be causing your insomnia. They may also request that you keep a sleep-diary or carry out a blood test to rule out specific medical conditions.
How to Prevent Insomnia
Most times, all you have to do is develop a healthy sleep-schedule to prevent insomnia. Below are a few tips you can use to prevent insomnia,
- Come up with a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as listening to soft music, reading, or taking a warm bath.
- Ensure your bedroom is comfortable to sleep-in
- Avoid taking beverages or large meals before bed
- Stop using nicotine and limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Limit naps
- Carefully read your medication to see that it does not have insomnia as a side effect
- Stay active during the day
- Have a consistent bedtime and wake up time
Insomnia can affect you physically and mentally and cause you to have an overall low quality of life. Complications may include:
- Increased risk of getting high blood pressure
- Mental health disorders
- High risk of accidents
- Low performance at work or school
It would be best if you got enough-sleep because it is vital for your overall well-being. Contact our-sleep and internal medicine specialists at Fort Lauderdale if you believe you are an insomniac and get professional help. They will be able to help you whether you are experiencing acute or chronic insomnia.