Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Insomnia results in a state of sleep that is not productive or restorative, resulting in the inability to fall asleep at night and the inability to maintain sleep. It is a very common problem that affects your energy, mood, and ability to work throughout the day. Chronic insomnia can cause serious health problems.
Some people have trouble falling asleep no matter how tired they are. Some wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for hours, anxiously watching the clock. But since every person needs different amounts of sleep, insomnia should be defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping, not by how many hours you slept or how quickly you fell asleep.
Although insomnia is the most common sleep problem, it should not be considered as a problem alone. It would be more accurate to treat it as a symptom of something as simple as drinking too much caffeine during the day or a more complex problem such as being under extreme stress.
The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be treated with changes you can make on your own, without consulting a sleep specialist or using prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. By addressing the underlying causes and making simple changes to your daily habits and sleep environment, you can put an end to the problem of insomnia and finally get a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia symptoms include:
- Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired.
- Waking up frequently throughout the night.
- Not being able to fall back asleep when you wake up.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Relying on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep.
- Waking up very early in the morning.
- Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability.
- Difficulty concentrating during the day.
Causes of Insomnia: Understanding Why You Can’t Sleep
To properly treat and cure your insomnia, you need to become a sleep detective. Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety and depression cause insomnia. But your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health can also play a role. Try to identify all possible causes of your insomnia. Once you find the root cause, you can adapt the treatment accordingly.
Chronic insomnia is often due to an underlying mental or physical problem.
Anxiety, stress and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having trouble sleeping can make symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, anxiety, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying issues is essential to solving your insomnia.
Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Medicines. Many prescription medications can affect sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants used for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some birth control medications. Common over-the-counter effectors include cold and flu medications, pain relievers containing caffeine, diuretics, and weight loss pills.
Sleeping disorders. Insomnia itself is a sleep disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and circadian rhythm disorders due to jet lag or night shift work.
Some habits are so ingrained that you may ignore the fact that they have a negative impact on your insomnia. Maybe your Starbucks habit is affecting your sleep more than you think. Or maybe you’ve never made the connection between a glass of wine at midnight and your sleep problems. Keeping a sleep diary (or using a sleep tracking app) is a helpful way to identify habits and behaviors that are contributing to your insomnia.
What causes your insomnia?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Are you depressed? Do you feel emotionally hopeless?
- Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or anxiety?
- Have you had a traumatic experience recently?
- Are you taking any medications that may affect your sleep?
- Do you have any health problems that may interfere with sleep?
- Is your bedroom quiet and comfortable?
- Do you try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day?
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Noise, light, a bedroom that is too hot or cold, or an uncomfortable mattress or pillow can affect sleep. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to mask outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. Get up at your usual time in the morning, even if you are tired. This will help you get back into a regular sleep rhythm.
Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. Electronic screens emit a blue light that disrupts your body’s production of melatonin and combats sleepiness. So, instead of watching TV or spending time on your phone, tablet, or computer, choose another relaxing activity, such as reading a book or listening to light music.
Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bed. This includes checking messages on social media, having big arguments or arguments with your partner or family, or finishing work. Postpone these until the morning.
Avoid sweets. Napping during the day can make it difficult to sleep at night. If you feel like you need to take a nap, limit it to 30 minutes before 3 p.m.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping. This can be difficult to avoid as many of us now work from home, but if possible, don’t work in the bedroom.
Do not keep a clock in the bedroom. You can use an alarm, but make sure you can’t see the time while you’re in bed.
Get out of bed when you can’t sleep. Don’t try to force yourself to sleep. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing like reading a book, meditating, or taking a bath, but keep the lights dim and avoid screens. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.
Before going to bed;
Do not drink too much liquid. Waking up at night to go to the toilet becomes a bigger problem as you get older. You can reduce the frequency of waking up at night by not drinking anything an hour before going to bed and going to the bathroom a few times while getting ready for bed.
Do not consume alcohol. While a nightcap may help you relax and fall asleep in the short term, in the long term it interferes with your sleep cycle, causing you to wake up during the night.
Do not consume caffeine. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends stopping drinking caffeinated beverages at least six hours before bed. People sensitive to caffeine may need to quit even earlier.
Do not consume large portions of dinner. Try to eat dinner earlier and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bedtime. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach upset and heartburn, which can wake you up at night.
If you have tried various self-help techniques without success, make an appointment with a specialist, especially if insomnia is affecting your mood and health so much. Provide the doctor with as much supporting information as possible, including information from your sleep diary.
– Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. HelpGuide