Contents hide What are the medical causes of insomnia? Symptoms of insomnia Negative effects of insomnia Sleep hygiene Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia You have heard people go on and on about how sleeping is their favorite thing to do, haven’t you? They talk about how they are usually out cold before a strand of […]
You have heard people go on and on about how sleeping is their favorite thing to do, haven’t you? They talk about how they are usually out cold before a strand of their hair makes contact with the pillow and they will be on dream number 4 by the time you are even considering hitting the sack. It rankles because you know that does not happen for you.
Falling asleep does not come naturally to you. Staying asleep for a couple of hours is nothing short of a miracle. What causes insomnia? Is it treatable? Fortunately, once you understand what causes your insomnia, then you can get a solution for it.
Insomnia can be caused by the following:
Researchers are looking into the issue of the brain refusing to go into rest mode when it should. The brain has a sleep-wake cycle. When one is on, the other is off. Insomnia can come about as a result of either cycle going to the extreme in that there may be too much wake drive and too little sleep drive.
For you to begin your journey in figuring out how to resolve your sleep issues, you must first understand where the sleeplessness is coming from. It is not right to shrug it off and hope it rights itself.
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause insomnia. Sometimes, the symptoms of the malady will cause it. In some cases, the medical condition itself causes the difficulties in sleeping. Discomfort from a medical condition or the symptoms of one can make it very difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Some conditions that may be held responsible for insomnia include:
There are medications that can also mess with your sleep. These include medicines taken for the following conditions:
Insomnia could be a symptom of underlying sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
Sleep apnea: Your airway is obstructed in part or completely during sleep, resulting in pauses in breathing and reduced levels of oxygen. This causes the patient to have intermittent spells of wakefulness throughout the night which may result in insomnia.
Restless leg syndrome: A neurological condition in which you experience such discomfort that you need to move your legs. Patients with this condition may experience worse symptoms later on in the day, especially during periods of rest, as well as during the wake to sleep transition. Falling and staying asleep then becomes difficult.
If you experience regular episodes of sleeplessness, you may need to evaluate your health, both physical and mental, to find out if there may be underlying issues that could be a contributing factor. In some instances, there are some simple measures you can take to improve your sleep situation. For instance, turn the lights down low when you are in resting mode, avoid distractions such as electronic devices and the television and avoid coffee or any caffeinated beverages close to bedtime.
In extreme cases, you should seek the advice of a specialist. You might also want to begin a treatment regime for any underlying medical issues that might have been discovered.
As mentioned earlier, some of the issues that cause insomnia are mental. Let us review some of these psychiatric issues and how they may be responsible for causing you sleepless nights.
Psychological complications can make it very difficult to fall asleep. You have heard that one of the symptoms of depression is the tendency for a depressed person to stay in bed sometimes for days on end. This does not necessarily mean they are asleep. Sleep is sporadic. Insomnia itself can be a catalyst for changes in mood. A person that has had trouble sleeping might be cranky and irritable for no reason that you can point out. Insomnia, apart from enhancing mood swings, can also cause shifts in hormones and the physiology which can lead to psychiatric issues as well as insomnia.
Insomnia can be a symptom of depression. Severe insomnia is reported to be more prevalent in patients who have major depressive disorders. Insomnia has been known to worsen depression. Other symptoms of depression include:
If one has these symptoms and they also have insomnia, the results could be dire as one can make the other even worse. Fortunately, both insomnia and depression are treatable.
Many people suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. Some have it worse than others and must seek treatment for it. Feelings of worry or nervousness can keep you wide awake on a regular basis. Some anxiety symptoms that will cause sleeplessness to include:
With these kinds of feelings running through one’s mind constantly, falling asleep can be a tall order. Anxiety can cause one to not only have difficulties falling asleep but also have constant sleep interruptions where they might wake up during the night and not be able to go back to sleep. The silence that comes with the night can bring on thoughts and fears that can keep you awake.
If this happens over a long period of time, your anxiety will only get worse and could even turn tragic. You are constantly plagued by feelings of dread and may even suffer panic attacks when you think about your inability to sleep. Insomnia and anxiety then become a lethal combination that must be arrested by seeking treatment. Experts can help you with cognitive and mind-body techniques that aid in getting an anxious person to sleep. Also, you can learn some healthy sleep habits that can help alleviate insomnia and anxiety.
There are certain lifestyles that are believed to trigger insomnia. You may not be having any physical or psychological health problems, but you leave a life that interferes with the normal sleep patterns. These can create insomnia or make insomnia which is already present due to other issues even worse.
Here are a few examples of how certain lifestyles can lead to sleep deprivation:
Hitting the club regularly might sound like fun and might show that you have a healthy social life, but you might actually be making your body adapt to unhealthy schedules that could problematic in the future. This is because clubbing consists of late nights and oftentimes, copious amounts of alcohol.
Insomnia sometimes begins with one severe episode which may be as a result of receiving bad news or even exciting news. You start getting up in the dead of the night to get a drink (usually not water or warm milk) or to get some work done since you are awake anyway. This could turn into a long-term problem with insomnia. In fact, it could develop into chronic insomnia.
Should this happen, you should get the problem addressed right away. If your lifestyle is to blame for your insomnia, you may need to consider making changes which include getting to bed at regular hours in the long term. Sleep experts are equipped with techniques that can help you get your insomnia sorted out. If you have tried it on your own and it has not worked, it is important that you seek professional help.
What you ingest could be causing you sleepless nights. Furthermore, your eating patterns and activities could be doing you more harm than good. Food and drinks play a major role in the chemical processes in our bodies. If you are having trouble sleeping, take a look at the following to see if you might be indulging in the wrong foods or substances.
There are neurotransmitters in the brain which are known to be in charge of sleep and wakefulness. Many chemical processes in the brain may be to blame for interfering with sleep. They could also be the reason why some people seem to be prone to insomnia and struggle with it for years without being able to find a solution. It has been established that even when they follow expert advice and adhere to the treatment and advice that is given, these people continue suffering from insomnia.
You know you have insomnia if you have the following symptoms:
If you suspect you may be having issues with sleep, give your doctor a visit for a proper diagnosis and prescription of sleep medication such as Rozerem. This may include:
The doctor may require you to keep a sleep diary for a few weeks to keep track of your sleep patterns and how you feel in the daytime. Your partner, if you have one, may also be expected to provide information about the quality and quantity of your sleep. Should the need arise, your doctor will refer you to a sleep clinic for further tests and evaluation.
the young have no reason to experience insomnia because most people think insomnia is stress related. From what has been mentioned earlier in this article, there are other causes of insomnia aside from psychiatric issues.
However, it is important to develop healthy sleep patterns when you are younger because as the years pass by, sleep tends to become elusive.
Insomnia involves a host of other issues such as:
How many times have you heard people say how they do not need much sleep? Some even claim that sleep interferes with their money-making hustles. Such an attitude can get one into serious trouble with regard to sleep and even cause one to develop insomnia. Sleeplessness is not good for anyone’s health. Here are a few reasons why:
What is sleep hygiene? Have you ever come across the term before? Well, it is a collection of habits that will cause you to fall asleep more easily and more deeply. These habits can be developed by the self, but if find that you have challenges, you can always seek help. Here is a list of sleep habits you can develop on your own to get better sleep.
You should not:
Sometimes, the sleep hygiene technique is not enough to get you to sleep. Maintaining your newly acquired sleep habits is not easy. You must be very disciplined and determined to keep it up. However, if you have followed the sleep hygiene routine faithfully and it has not helped you much, then you might need some sleep therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
The bottom line is, you need to address any issues that may be causing your insomnia and change your sleep habits. You might have to be put on medication or attempt natural therapies.
CBT-I or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a therapy aimed at helping someone suffering from insomnia to control or get rid of negative thoughts and behavior that make it difficult for them to fall asleep. This therapy is said to be even more effective than medication.
The cognitive bit of the therapy helps you to recognize thought patterns and beliefs that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. You are assisted in changing these thought patterns and beliefs so that you have less or eventually nothing that keeps you awake with worry at night. It also helps you deal with worrying about falling asleep to the extent that you are unable to fall asleep.
The behavioral bit is aimed at helping you to form good sleep habits and avoid any behavior that will keep you from falling asleep, such as overindulgence in substances that keep you alert or watching too much television at night. Once you are able to kick these bad sleep habits, then you are able to fall asleep and stay asleep. The strategies your therapist will apply include:
The intention is to get your body and mind tuned to a healthier sleep schedule by possibly making changes to your lifestyle to accommodate better sleep.
If you must use medication, it is best to have your doctor prescribe the pills for you. Doctors recommend using the pills for a few weeks, but there are medications that are recommended for long-term use, such as Rozerem (Ramelteon). Avoid buying over-the-counter medication which may not work as expected and may come with adverse side effects. Also, the key should be getting a long-term solution for your insomnia.
Additionally, talk to your doctor about the possible effects the medication prescribed may have on you and come up with possible ways to combat the effects. The advantage of getting prescription medication from a qualified health practitioner if you have someone to have this discussion with and find possible alternatives if you react to a particular medication.
These are only intended for short-term use. They contain antihistamines which make you drowsy. Antihistamines can cause effects such as:
These effects may be more pronounced in older adults. If you must use these, then ensure that you get a prescription from your doctor.
Insomnia can be treated if you are determined to get rid of it. You must be willing to change your daytime and bedtime routines.
Insomnia is uncomfortable and can cause you a lot of woes if not checked, but it is treatable with the right approach and determination from the patient. Self-discipline combined with the right medication from a qualified health practitioner as well as therapy can cure insomnia.