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Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is affecting millions of people around the world. People with insomnia often find difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. 

You know how unpleasant one night of bad sleep can make you feel. Now just multiply that one bad night into weeks and even months. This will make it easy for you to understand why insomnia can toll on both your mental and physical health. 

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep, or stay asleep or causes you to wake up too early and not able to get back to sleep properly.

Insomnia not only disturbs your energy level and mood but also your overall health, work performance, and quality of life.

There are times when some adults experience short-term insomnia which lasts only for a few days or weeks. This is mainly the result of stress or traumatic event.

However, some people suffer from long-term insomnia that persists for a month or more. Insomnia might be the key problem or can be linked to other medications or medical conditions.

What is the main cause of insomnia?

There are several potential causes of insomnia and in some cases, multiple factors are even involved. Insomnia might be the primary problem or can be linked with other health conditions.

Chronic insomnia is generally a result of stress, life events, or habits that disturb your sleep. Treating the underlying cause can resolve your insomnia condition but sometimes it can last for several years as well.

Common causes of chronic insomnia

Here are some common causes of chronic insomnia that includes:

Stress

Several concerns about health, work, school, family, or finance can keep your mind active even at night and make it difficult for you to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma like the death or illness of a loved one or job loss can lead to the problem of insomnia.

Poor sleep habits

Poor sleep habits including irregular bedtime schedules, stimulating activities before bed, naps, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and watching TV or using your mobile before going to bed can disturb your sleep. 

Travel or work schedule

Your circadian rhythms often play the role of the internal clock, guiding things like the sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, and metabolism. You might start suffering from insomnia if the circadian rhythms of your body are disturbed.

Some of the main causes include working late or early shifts, jet lag from traveling across various time zones, or regularly changing shifts.

Eating too much in the evening

Having a light snack before your bedtime is good but eating too much can make you feel uncomfortable physically when you sleep. There are also many people who experience heartburn, a backflow of food or acid from the stomach into the esophagus after eating too much. As a result, you might stay awake and not sleep the entire night.

Medications

It is important to know that several prescription medicines also interfere with sleep like antidepressants. Medicines for asthma or blood pressure can also harm your sleep.

Various over-the-counter medicines like weight loss drugs, pain relief medications, and allergy & cold medicines often contain caffeine and stimulants.

All this can further disrupt your sleep and contribute to the problem of insomnia.

These are just some of the causes of insomnia. You might suffer from sleep disorders due to several other causes as well.

Symptoms of Insomnia

While suffering from insomnia, you might suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Waking up too early
  • Difficulty in falling asleep at night
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Waking up during the night
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering
  • Inability, depression, or anxiety

In case, insomnia is making it difficult for you to function during the day then it is important to meet the doctor and recognize the cause of your sleep problem.

Types of insomnia

Though there are different types of insomnia. Each type is considered by how long it lasts, how it affects your sleep along with the underlying cause.

Acute insomnia

It is short-term insomnia that lasts only for a few days to a few weeks. This type of insomnia mainly occurs when you suffer from stressful events. 

Chronic insomnia

Insomnia is believed chronic if you have trouble sleeping almost three days per week for at least one month. The main causes of chronic insomnia include chronic medical conditions, mental health conditions, and medicines.

Onset insomnia

Onset insomnia is mainly about trouble initiating sleep. This type of insomnia lasts for a short term or is chronic.

Thus, to deal with your insomnia condition, you need to stick to a sleep pattern, stay active, take medicines, and avoid large meals before going to bed.