What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep condition that can drastically alter your quality of life and your overall health. If you suffer from it, you may find it difficult to fall asleep at night or stay asleep.
Want to know some more about sleep insomnia? - Check out one of our recent article; ‘What Is Sleep Insomnia?’. You can also check out what are insomnia symptoms so you know how many of the classic signs you are displaying.
With this article, we’ll focus on what causes it. Knowing the reasons for insomnia can help you. By giving yourself all the knowledge you need, you can battle it by figuring out how to sleep with insomnia. Get ready to eliminate all those sleep disturbances that are making your life a nightmare.
Why Is It Happening?
If you’re curious about what causes insomnia, prepared to be partially frustrated because there can be many reasons for it. And because there are so many reasons, it may take you a while to figure out which one is bringing it on in your case.
Sometimes sleep problems require a little detective work before you can pinpoint the cause. So channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and let’s figure this out so you can find solutions to improve sleep quality in your life.
Generally, insomnia sleep disorders are caused by one of these things:
- Psychological and medical conditions.
Let’s take a closer look at each reason to see if you can figure out which category is causing your lack of sleep.
Psychological and Medical Conditions
Mental health conditions can mess with every aspect of your life. Things like depression and anxiety can be crippling, even as you try to rest at night. Your mental anguish can leave you too worried, sad, and anxious to fall asleep.
The more people with insomnia begin to worry about their lack of sleep, the worse their insomnia can get. It’s like when you instantly want a double cheeseburger and fries the second you’re supposed to be starting your diet. Your mind can be your own worst enemy at times.
While psychological issues can lead to sleep disorders, so can medical conditions. Some of the ones that can commonly cause insomnia include:
- Back pain.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Hyperthyroidism or other endocrine issues.
- Acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues.
- Sinus issues.
- Conditions that cause chronic pain like fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Even if your health problems don’t cause sleep troubles, your medication you take to deal with your disease or condition might. Some of the medications that can trigger insomnia or at least contribute to it include the ones taken for conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, thyroid disease, allergies, asthma, depression, heart disease, birth control, and even a plain old cold.
Even happy medical conditions, like pregnancy, can lead to trouble sleeping. Insomnia during early pregnancy is common. It’s not as if pregnancy needs to be tougher for women, but up to three-quarters of pregnant women will struggle with getting a good night’s sleep.
A big reason for it during pregnancy is because of the hormonal changes your body is going through. In later pregnancy, you might have trouble sleeping because you can never seem to find a comfortable position with all the aches and pains your body is feeling.
Sometimes we can be hurting our sleep efforts and not even realize it by having bad sleep habits that are getting in the way of our rest.
The good news is that like any habits, bad sleep habits can be modified. Here are some of the worst sleep habits that might be keeping you up at night.
- A poor sleep schedule: Do you go to bed at 9 p.m. one night and 1 a.m. the next night? Your body could be paying the price for your irregular hours by being unable to adjust enough to fall asleep. In short, you’re confusing yourself. You should keep a consistent bedtime instead.
- Drinking too much caffeine: Caffeine is something you may crave, but you have to be careful about having any mid-afternoon or later. It stays in your system for hours, stimulating you too much for sleep if you have a late afternoon coffee, tea, or soda.
- Eating big meals before bed: A light snack is okay, but a big plate of food is a no-no an hour or two before you tuck yourself in. It can trigger acid reflux issues which can cause a lava-like feeling in your throat and esophagus that makes it too painful to sleep.
- Too much screen time before bedtime: We’re used to limiting our kids’ screen time. But as adults, we think we should be able to use our phones, tablets, and computers whenever we want. We shouldn’t though, because we don’t need that much mental stimulation in the hour before bed.
- Drinking too much water before hitting the hay: If you find yourself chugging multiple glasses of water an hour before bed, you’re sabotaging your own sleep efforts. What goes in is going to have to come out. You might find yourself getting up to use the bathroom a couple of times during the night. That can make it hard to get back to sleep. Instead, drink more water with dinner and just take a few sips in the hour before bed.
- Wind down an hour before bed: If you’re too wound up when you head into the bedroom, it’s going to be hard to get your shut-eye. Read a book or do some gentle stretching to help signal your body and mind that it’s time to shut down for the night.
- You have an evening cocktail or two: People think they sleep better with alcohol, but they don’t. It might make them tired and even get them to sleep faster, but it can mess with their ability to stay asleep. That can stop them from reaching the deep stage of sleep that benefits them the most.
- You dwell on or don’t deal with your stress: Work issues, family drama, and money problems can create enormous amounts of stress that keep you awake at night. Facing this stress head-on or finding better ways to deal with it, like meditation, can make you sleep better.
- Your bedroom isn’t comfortable: If your room is too hot or cold, it’s going to prevent you from falling asleep quickly and even staying asleep all night. Find a happy medium when it comes to temperature -- most people sleep best when the temperature is somewhere between 65 degrees to 72 degrees. You should also make sure your pillow and mattress feel good to you and aren’t keeping you awake.
Who Is Impacted Most By Insomnia?
Kids and adults are both affected by insomnia. But it’s most common in older adults and women.
The prevalence of insomnia in older adults may be partially because of increasing incidents of medical conditions that come with age, worry about health and family, and because of more medications.
But whether you’re old or young, the effects of insomnia are the same -- it’s bad for your overall health and mental outlook. What you have to focus on is finding workable solutions.
One solution -- weighted blankets -- works for all age groups. Weighted blankets are most beneficial when they are not too heavy and not too light. A good range to shoot for is that a weighted blanket should be around 10 percent of your body weight.
By buying them based off of their weight, you won’t get one that’s too heavy for a child or one that doesn’t weigh enough to give an adult any benefit.
Put Insomnia to Bed
Now that you know more about the causes of insomnia, you may be able to figure out which one is the villain in your bedtime story. Arming yourself with knowledge about this common sleep issue can get you one step closer to solving it.
Just think about what a relief it will be to head to bed one night confident that you’ll be able to nod off in no time.