Constant lack of sleep has serious effects on the mind and body, making people less productive. Some individuals spend years suffering from insomnia without determining the reason for the condition. Researchers now know there are several causes of chronic insomnia, along with ways to change the problem. It is possible for someone to have more than one cause for their insomnia, and a professional evaluation from a sleep disorder specialist is often necessary.
One: Bad Sleep Habits
Bad sleep habits include not having a regular bedtime each night and waking at the same time each morning. Someone working unusual shifts or traveling to different time zones will often develop jet lag and insomnia. Additional bad habits are taking naps throughout the day, trying to sleep on an uncomfortable bed or leaving bright lights on while trying to sleep. Using a bed for reading or watching television also can make it difficult to sleep at night.
Two: Medical Problems
Many minor or serious medical problems cause insomnia, including allergies, sleep apnea or Parkinson’s disease. Someone with a chronic health condition, such as arthritis or back injury, may feel discomfort while reclining, making it impossible to sleep throughout the night. Proper pain management is key for those suffering from insomnia as a result of a painful condition and should be discussed with their doctor.
An individual with an acid reflux problem may develop heartburn at night, leading to staying awake constantly due to indigestion. This can be avoided by abstaining from heartburn-inducing foods during the hours before one desires to sleep. Those suffering from sleep apnea can use treatments like the Slumberbump sleep belt to keep their airways clear and open while they sleep, effectively solving the problem. Hormonal problems caused by chemical imbalances such as hypothyroidism or perimenopause can lead to sleeping difficulties.
Three: Unhealthy Substances
There are several commonly consumed substances that cause sleeping problems such as over-the-counter or prescription medications, excess alcohol and herbal supplements. In addition, cigarette smokers often develop insomnia due to the stimulating effects of nicotine in tobacco. Illegal drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine are also responsible for poor sleeping patterns. Addicts may take medications such as Ritalin or Adderal illegally to get high, but these can cause insomnia as a side effect.
Four: Psychiatric Conditions
Psychiatric conditions can make it difficult for someone to sleep due to a change in chemicals in the brain or hormones in the body. Someone with a mania condition may have an incredible amount of energy, leading to no sleep for several days. Individuals with depression are often insomniacs due to the inability to let go of stressful and anxious feelings that they worry about at night, leading to not sleeping. Situations in someone’s life such as a grieving process that causes mental distress may lead to lack of sleep.
Five: Poor Diet
Poor dietary habits can lead to insomnia by changing the insulin levels in the body right before going to bed. The most common ways this occurs is by consuming heavy meals late at night that often contain spicy ingredients. The body reacts to the extra food by providing additional energy or adrenaline that keeps someone awake. Drinking caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks, tea or coffee or eating chocolate can also stimulate the mind and body, making it impossible to relax and sleep at night.
Six: Biorhythm Disorders
The human body has biological rhythms that are affected by numerous things, including sunlight, daily schedules or temperature. There are numerous circadian rhythm sleep disorders such as irregular sleeping that involves needing naps or advanced sleep disorder that leads to early bedtimes along with sleeping in the morning. Everyone knows a night owl type of person who wants to stay up late and sleep late or a lark who wants to go to bed early and wake before dawn.
Sleep Better at Night
There are simple things that individuals can do to get to sleep at night when they suffer from frequent insomnia. Make sure that the temperature in a bedroom is not too hot or cold. Begin to turn off lights as the evening progresses to change the brain’s biorhythms. Turn off electronics before going to bed to have a darkened room. Avoid eating food, drinking caffeine or exercising several hours before the designated bedtime.