10 Insomnia Causes and Treatment.
Insomnia causes are often ignored and overlooked by many. This is due to the lack of information and the need to seek immediate treatment.
Insomnia causes can range from psychiatric problems, medical conditions, to physiological issues.
It is a sleep disorder characterized by having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep at night or waking up very early.
People suffering from insomnia experience ;
– Irritability or mood swings
– Lack of concentration or focus.
– Restlessness and impulsiveness
– Lethargy or feeling tired most of the time
– Lack of motivation or being unproductive.
Types of insomnia
There are two common types of insomnia.
Acute insomnia is short term. It can last for a few weeks to one month. It is often as a result of life circumstances, and or changes. This type of insomnia can be caused by; the death of a loved one, an impending exam, a meeting, the birth of a baby or even a family event.
Most people tend to experience this type of insomnia. As a matter of facts, acute insomnia is not life-threatening. It can be cured without any form of treatment.
This type of insomnia is long-term. It can last for more than a month. It can happen on a regular basis or on some days of the week for a long time.
The causes of chronic insomnia can range from psychological problems to some physical conditions.
Chronic insomnia can be as a result of; changes in the environment, medical disorders, or poor sleeping habits and sometimes causes are unknown.
For instance, I had a friend in college who would only sleep for only 2-3 hours at night. It was weird to me because she often looked tired and irritated during the day. She claimed that the doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of her insomnia.
This condition is typical with some people, but it’s rare.
Chronic Insomnia can be life-threatening, hence it is important to seek professional help.
How Insomnia can be treated.
Insomnia can be cured using various interventions. The treatment can be in the form of; psychological counseling, medication, non-drug techniques, or natural remedies.
Insomnia causes are often related to some problem. For instance, stress can cause insomnia if it is not managed well. It is therefore vital to address any health problems before they become critical. Insomnia can contribute to; other diseases, relationship breakups or even death.
1. Medical conditions.
Health conditions such as; chronic pain, obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, acid reflux disorder, and diabetes can have an impact on sleep. These diseases often disrupt the normal functioning of the body. Food can as well as impede sleep.
Most medical conditions are not aged specific but are common in older adults. Pregnant women may also suffer from insomnia during their third trimester of pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor if your medical conditions could be causing your insomnia.
2. Psychological conditions
Psychological conditions can contribute to insomnia. Psychiatric conditions such as; mental sickness, anxiety disorders, depression, and chronic stress can interfere with sleep.
Psychological conditions and insomnia are interrelated; untreated insomnia can cause mental problems and vice versa.
It is important to seek early treatment for any health condition before they worsen.
3. Poor sleeping habits and lifestyle.
Poor sleeping habits cause insomnia. Indeed many people, I included are victims of this. Probably you do not know that whatever you do before going to or in bed has an impact on your sleep.
Bad habits such as; eating heavy meals close to bedtime, or watching TV late in the night can cause insomnia.
Smoking, and or drinking late in the evening or close to sleep time is bad. It not only interferes with your sleep but is harmful to your health.
Exercising close to bedtime can be fine with some people but to some, it is not. This is because exercising stimulates the brain activity hence it may take longer for you to fall asleep. Try to understand your body and only do what it can handle.
Some life conditions such as working on a shift can also cause insomnia. You may be forced to sleep during odd hours or take a nap during the day. This may, in turn, interfere with your body’s natural clock. Even when working on a shift, try to plan or schedule a regular time to sleep.
Stimulants contribute to insomnia causes. Substances such as; caffeine in coffee, alcohol, nicotine, some drugs, and even chocolate tend to disrupt sleep. Consuming these substances late in the evening or close to bedtime can inhibit your sleep.
Stimulants can stay in your system for up to eight hours. This means that, if taken late, they will keep you awake for longer.
Avoid them or try to consume them early during the day. Take them in moderation. Do not take them late in the evening or at night.
5. Some medications.
Some prescription drugs cause insomnia. Most of the medications contain stimulants as one of their active ingredients. For instance, some; pain, allergy, and weight loss medications contain caffeine hence can alter your sleep pattern.
Be careful when taking these drugs. In any case, the medicines you take contributes to your insomnia; consult your primary care physician for a replacement.
6. Sleep disorders
Sleep disorders often contribute to difficulties in falling and staying asleep. Most complications can be as a result of some underlying medical conditions which may need treatment.
Sleep disorders include; sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and shift work disorder. Try some self-help tricks such as changing your lifestyle and sleeping habits. For more help, consult your doctor.
7. Hormonal changes.
Hormonal changes in the body such as stress can cause insomnia. This is because they inhibit the normal functioning of the body. Chronic stress can cause the release of low levels of the hormone estrogen and progesterone. Similarly, imbalances caused by mood swings can also contribute to sleeplessness.
Anxiety contributes to the release of high levels of Cortisol. Too much cortisol at night can make you more sensitive and awake at night. Learn how to cope with stress and find different stress management techniques .
Most importantly try to concentrate only on falling sleep. Shut all other worries and thoughts to have a restful night. Let your body relax.
Hormonal changes that come with aging such as menopause can also affect sleep. Postmenopausal women do experience hot flashes and sweating at night. These deprive them of a good night’s sleep.
Consult your doctor for help if the changes taking place in your body are contributing to your insomnia.
8. Sleeping environment.
Your sleeping environment can significantly affect your sleep. Probably you do not make sleep a priority, and so you don’t care to prepare for it. Your bedroom and its atmosphere are not convenient for rest.
Do you know that the environment you sleep in has an impact on your sleep?
For instance, you have placed; gym equipment, a large TV screen, and electronic devices in your bedroom. In most cases, the intention is to use them before you sleep.
Your bedroom should not have these. In my understanding, it is a bedroom as the name suggests. It should ideally have only a bed and bedding in it. Remove all these other additions; they are disrupting your sleep.
Make your bedroom comfortable for sleeping. Buy a comfortable mattress and bedding. Use warm and relaxing colors for your bedding, they tend to enhance sleep.
9. Irregular sleep pattern
This is among the major causes of insomnia. Sleeping at random times or not having a daily sleep routine is unhealthy. It interferes with your natural body clock.In severe cases, it can cause irregular wake syndrome.
Taking unnecessary daytime naps can also interfere with sleep. Irregular sleeping patterns confuse your body and brain’s natural set up.
Though your lifestyle may hinder you from having a regular sleep pattern, try to create one that suits you.
10. Other causes
Other insomnia causes can include sleeping with a snoring partner or spouse. Snoring can be annoying and frustrating especially for people listening to it or sleeping next to the snorer. You may stay awake for a long time before falling asleep due to the unpleasant noise.
How to treat insomnia.
Insomnia can be treated either conventionally or unconventionally. It’s important to try to address your insomnia problem by self-care approaches. Consult your primary care physician on the best treatment or self-care approach to take.
Self-care approaches for insomnia.
Personal care is one of the most effective treatments for insomnia. It’s important first to understand the insomnia causes before trying different treatments options.
Here are some useful approaches you can try.
i.) Change your poor sleeping habits.
- Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime. This is among the insomnia causes. Eat light healthy meals in the evening at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Snack on light and healthy foods if you need to before you go to bed. Do not eat in bed.
- Refrain from watching; TV, electronic devices or using your phone close to bedtime or in bed. The bright lights emitted from these devices can keep you awake for long.
- Do not exercise close to bedtime. Exercising is essential if done at daytime. This is because, it increases the release of the hormone epinephrine which can cause an increase in heart rate and energy. You do not need these close to bedtime because they may keep you awake for a long.
- Have a regular sleeping pattern. Always go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. That is to say, you can go to sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am every day. Find a pattern that works best and suits your programs or needs.
- Desist from or reduce drinking stimulants such as coffee late in the evening. They will invigorate your brain and keep you awake.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping. Do not put anything in it that might interfere with your sleep. Try to make it more comfortable and relaxing. Use dark, warm curtains on the windows to filter any bright light from coming in.
- If your partner snores at night, you can;
- Try and go to sleep an hour or two before them. Probably by the time they start snoring, you will be deep asleep and not hear them.
- Use earplugs for sleeping to block and reduce the noise from the snorer.
- Alternatively, sleep in separate rooms. This should be a personal choice and should be based on mutual understanding.
ii.)Use essential oils.
Essential oils are useful for calming and relaxing the body. There are compelling pieces of evidence on how essential oils can help relieve symptoms of insomnia.
They have been used for decades and are safe to use.
Essential oils are inexpensive and have very minimal side effects. They not only relieve insomnia but can relieve stress and boost your mood. Their scent is refreshing and evokes feelings of relaxation.
Moreover, I use them every night to enhance my sleep and they work.
Always buy essential oils that are 100% pure, and natural.
I use them and they work, therefore you can give them a try.
Essential oils are effective for enhancing sleep if;
- Applied topically on the skin.
- Inhaled or diffused in the air
- Used with Epsom salt in your bath.
- Sprayed on surfaces such as beds.
Try different essential oils or insomnia oil blends . Experiment with them to find one that works best for you.
Add a carrier oil to your essential oils whenever you intend to apply them topically. Besides, consult your primary care physician for further treatment.
Supplements are a better option in cases where other forms of treatment have failed. There are a number of well studied and effective supplements such as melatonin which do promote sleep.
Most of these sleep supplements are safe and natural. There have minimal side effects and risks involved when taking them. They can help your body get the rest it needs.
Consult with your doctor to rule out any serious deficiencies or health problems before taking any supplements. Take the supplements as instructed so as to avoid any adverse side effects.