What causes insomnia?
Insomnia is sleep apnea that affects up to 35% of adults. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep throughout the night, and sleeping as long as you want into the morning. It can have serious consequences, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, an increased risk of car accidents, and widespread health consequences from sleep deprivation.
Stress, an irregular sleep schedule, poor sleeping habits, mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, physical illnesses and pain, medications, neurological problems, and specific sleep disorders are all common causes of insomnia. In addition, many people experience insomnia as a result of a combination of these factors.
Is all insomnia the same?
Not all insomnia is the same; people can experience the condition in different ways. Short-term insomnia occurs for a short period, whereas chronic insomnia lasts three months or longer. Some people struggle to fall asleep (sleep onset), while others struggle to stay asleep (sleep maintenance).
Insomnia can have a wide range of effects depending on its cause, severity, and influence by underlying health conditions.
What are the common causes of insomnia?
Various factors can cause insomnia, and in many cases, multiple factors are at work. In addition, insomnia can be triggered or worsened by other health conditions, resulting in a complex cause-and-effect chain.
Insomnia is thought to be caused by a state of hyperarousal that interferes with falling or staying asleep. Sleeplessness can be both mental and physical, and it can be triggered by a variety of situations and health problems.
Insomnia and stress
Stress can cause an excessive reaction in the body that interferes with quality sleep. Work, school, and social relationships can all trigger this stress response. In addition, exposure to traumatic events can result in chronic stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Hyperarousal is exacerbated by the body’s physical response to stress, and mental stress can have the same effect. In addition, the inability to sleep may become a source of tension in and of itself, making it increasingly difficult to break the cycle of stress and insomnia.
Insomnia & irregular sleep schedules
In an ideal world, the body’s inner clock, known as the circadian rhythm, would closely follow the daily pattern of day and night. Unfortunately, in reality, many people have sleep schedules that cause their circadian rhythm to be misaligned.
Jet lag and shift work are two well-known examples. Jet lag disrupts sleep because the body cannot adjust to a sudden change in time zone. Shift work necessitates working through the night and sleeping during the day. Both can disrupt the circadian rhythm and cause insomnia.
Insomnia and lifestyle
Unhealthy lifestyle, food & drink habits and routines can increase a person’s risk of insomnia.
Sleeping problems can be caused by a variety of lifestyle choices, including:
- Working late night, playing video games, or using electronic devices to stimulate the brain until late at night.
- Napping late in the afternoon can hamper your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Sleeping in later to make up for lost sleep can cause your body’s internal clock to become confused, making it difficult to establish a healthy sleep schedule.
- Using your bed for purposes other than sleeping can lead to mental associations between your bed and wakefulness.
How is insomnia managed or treated?
Short-term insomnia frequently resolves on its own. However, your doctor may advise you to try the following if you have chronic insomnia:
CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia): CBT-I is a brief, structured intervention for insomnia that assists you in identifying and replacing thoughts and behaviours that cause or worsen sleep problems with sleep-promoting habits. As opposed to sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.
Medications: Long-term sleep improvement is best achieved through behavioural and lifestyle changes. However, in some cases, taking sleeping pills for a short period can help you sleep. Doctors advise taking sleep medications only on occasion or for a short period. They are not the first choice for chronic insomnia treatment. Nowadays, doctors are prescribing Zopisign (Zopiclone) tablets for treating short term insomnia. In the UK, you can even buy zopiclone online from Fastukmeds.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t be afraid to seek help from your doctor. They may give you advice on how to deal with issues that are interfering with your sleep. Many people who suffer from insomnia report improved sleep after altering their diet, lifestyle, and nighttime routines. Medications or cognitive behavioural therapy may also be recommended.