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What Can Cause Insomnia

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Tips For Better Sleep

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There are also some strategies you can take on your own to promote better sleep. Here are a few you can try, starting today:

  • Establish a bedtime routine: Turn off bright screens and any sources of blue light , keep your room dim or dark, and engage in a calming activity like a bath, shower, or meditation.

  • Avoid physical activity several hours before bedtime: Getting your heart rate up throughout the day is a great way to stay healthy and promote more sound sleep. But if you exercise too close to bedtime, your body may not have enough time to settle, which can cause trouble falling asleep.

  • Avoid caffeine late in the day: Save your coffee and tea breaks for the morning and early afternoon. Caffeine too late in the evening can disrupt your sleep. If you enjoy warm tea to relax before bed, try a caffeine-free option like chamomile or lavender.

Can Melatonin Help Me Sleep

Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that promotes sleep. Some people take melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. But theres no proof that these supplements work. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements the same as medications, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking one.

Is Insomnia A Symptom Of Covid

Coined coronasomnia, COVID-19-induced insomnia is often attributed to pandemic-related stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.

Long-hauler symptoms is a new phase of the pandemic, says Dr. Pena Orbea. This is an area that were still studying.

While weve identified more than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19, some studies suggest neuropsychiatric symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder , anxiety and insomnia can worsen over time. And according to Dr. Pena Orbea, people whove had mental health conditions before contracting COVID-19 are at higher risk for developing worse anxiety and depression. This often results in someone developing a sleep disorder.

The direct cause for long-hauler symptoms remains unknown, says Dr. Pena Orbea. Clinicians and researchers are exploring several possibilities that include having a persistent inflammatory state or an inadequate antibody response, and theres another thought that there is ongoing viral activity thats causing organ damage.

And while general fatigue is a symptom of COVID-19, sleep disorders like insomnia can set in up to a couple of weeks after first contracting the virus. So on the surface, the sleep disorder might not seem connected, but chances are, its a result of contracting the virus itself.

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Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia

Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when it is tied to an obviously temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.

Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.

Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinsons disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.

Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine , diuretics, and slimming pills.

Insomnia Is Fairly Common

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This may not come as a surprise, but insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in the world. Research shows that 10-30% of the general adult population lives with symptoms of chronic insomnia and that about 23.8% of teenagers may also develop symptoms.

Insomniacs have difficulties falling asleep and/or staying asleep, they may wake up often during the night , or they may have an unrefreshing, poor sleep. This can last for days and weeks, eventually affecting their day-to-day life, and often physical and mental health. Everyday tasks feel more challenging, they feel fatigued more often, have difficulty concentrating, and have memory problems, which also impacts their mood.

Generally, the sleep patterns of insomniacs become disordered, and their ability to function as they normally would becomes impaired. This may later result in chronic health problems, like heart disease and strokes.

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How Is It Treated

Treatment for insomnia focuses on the reason why you don’t sleep well. If you have a medical problem, such as chronic pain, or an emotional problem, such as stress, treating that problem may help you sleep better. You may be able to sleep better by making some small changes. It may help to:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Get up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise. Figure out what time of day works best for your sleep patterns.
  • Avoid daytime naps.

Some people may need medicine for a while to help them fall asleep. Doctors often prescribe medicine for a short time if other treatment isn’t working. But medicine doesn’t work as well over time as lifestyle and behavior changes do. Sleep medicine can also become habit-forming. Medicine works best as a short-term treatment combined with lifestyle and behavior changes.

Your doctor may also recommend counseling, which can help you learn new habits that may help you sleep better.

Talk to your doctor about your sleep problems and any other health issues you may have. This is important, because lack of sleep can lead to depression, accidents, problems at work, marital and social problems, drinking more alcohol than usual, and poor health. Treatment may help you avoid these problems and feel better.

How Much Sleep Do Most People Need

Most adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep per night but the amount of sleep needed to function at your best varies between individuals. The quality of your rest matters just as much as the quantity. Tossing and turning and repeatedly awakening is as bad for your health as being unable to fall asleep.

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Link Between Insomnia And Food

What you eat can, directly and indirectly, affect your quality and duration of sleep. Certain foods or components in foods can disrupt your circadian rhythm , altering your sleep patterns. If continued, this can cause insomnia.

Additionally, your diet has the ability to significantly alter your gut bacteria , which can then affect other metabolic processes, including sleep. Long-term nutritional factors may also cause chronic inflammation, which has also been associated with insomnia.

Read on to learn about how certain foods and beverages can affect your sleep.

Chronic Pain Injury And Physical Illness

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Trying to get comfortable enough to sleep when youre hurting isnt easy. Thats why the aches and pains that accompany any chronic pain, injury, or physical illness can trigger a bout of insomnia. Again, seniors are more likely to be impacted because they tend to have higher rates of chronic pain and chronic health conditions.

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What Are The Causes

Short-term insomnia may be caused by temporary events, like experiencing stress, changes in sleep habits, jet lag, certain medications, or experiencing physical pain. However, chronic insomnia will last for at least 2-3 months and it can either have no known cause or can occur due to another physical or mental condition.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy. It addresses the thoughts and behaviors that keep you from sleeping well. It also helps you learn new strategies to sleep better. CBT-I can include stress reduction, relaxation and sleep schedule management. The Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine has a directory of behavioral sleep medicine providers who offer CBT-I. These visits can be performed in person, using video/telemedicine, and even using programs available online.

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What Are The Treatments For Insomnia

Treatments include lifestyle changes, counseling, and medicines:

  • Lifestyle changes, including good sleep habits, often help relieve acute insomnia. These changes might make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • A type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy can help relieve the anxiety linked to chronic insomnia
  • Several medicines also can help relieve your insomnia and allow you to re-establish a regular sleep schedule

If your insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, it’s important to treat that problem .

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What Are The Alternative Treatments Of Insomnia

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The alternative treatments for insomnia include cognitive behavioral therapy , melatonin supplements, and chamomile tea. We list these in detail below.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy : Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment that focuses on changing thinking patterns to help the patient overcome an issue. CBT can be used for insomnia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness.
  • Melatonin: Melatonin is a well-known natural sleep aid. Melatonin is a natural hormone that functions as part of the bodys circadian rhythm for sleep, and its main influence is light. When its dark out, the body releases extra melatonin to foster sleepiness. Melatonin supplements are designed to support the bodys natural process by increasing the amount of melatonin in the body to promote tiredness.
  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea is a popular alternative sleep aid. Chamomile tea is made from the chamomile plant, which is considered to have sedative effects. Research is mixed on whether chamomile makes people sleepy, but the relaxing effects of drinking warm tea at night may still help with insomnia.
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    Sleep Tips For Older Adults

    Older adults, especially those living in nursing homes or who are cared for by others, often have ongoing sleep problems. It’s natural for your sleep patterns to change as you get older, but it doesn’t mean that you need less sleep or that the sleep you do get is enough.

    There are things you can do to cope with changing sleep patterns as you get older, such as having familiar evening and nighttime routines.

    How Can Doctors Diagnose Insomnia

    Doctors can diagnose insomnia in three ways. The first is a physical exam in which the doctor will look for physical problems that may be causing your insomnia. The second is a question and answer assessment of your sleeping habits. The third way is to set up a sleep study. During a sleep study, you are hooked up to machines that monitor your bodys activity while you sleep.

    A specialist will look at your brain waves, breathing, heartbeat, eye movements and body movements. Sleep studies help determine if you have another sleep disorder causing insomnia.

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    What Are The Risk Factors

    There is no age limit for developing insomnia, however, there are certain factors that may increase the risk, such as:

    • Being exposed to high levels of chronic stress
    • Having recently experienced a traumatic event
    • Living with a mood disorder like anxiety or depression
    • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
    • Sudden changes in work hours, like working night shifts.

    What Are Common Causes Of Insomnia

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    There are numerous potential causes of insomnia, and in many cases, multiple factors can be involved. Poor sleep can also trigger or worsen other health conditions, creating a complex chain of cause-and-effect for insomnia.

    On a holistic level, insomnia is believed to be caused by a state of hyperarousal that disrupts falling asleep or staying asleep. Hyperarousal can be both mental and physical, and it can be triggered by a range of circumstances and health issues.

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    What Types Of Insomnia Are There

    There are two types of insomnia, acute and chronic. We list these insomnia types in detail below.

    • Acute Insomnia: Acute insomnia is a short-term form of this sleep disorder in which a person experiences sleep troubles for a few days or weeks. Experts say stressful events can be a common cause of acute insomnia. These stressful events may include a health diagnosis, major personal or professional changes, or the loss of a loved one. This form of insomnia is more prevalent than chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia may go away on its own, but sometimes it can become long-term.
    • Chronic Insomnia: Chronic insomnia is when a person experiences difficulty sleeping for an extended period. Chronic insomnia often occurs at least three days a week for three months or longer. Stress, lifestyle habits, irregular sleep schedules, mental health issues, pain, illness, medications, neurological problems, and other sleep disorders can cause long-term insomnia. Lifestyle changes, sleep medications, and behavioral therapies are ways to manage long-term insomnia.

    How Can Insomnia Be Prevented

    Insomnia can make your nights miserable and leave you dragging during the day. Thankfully, there are ways to combat it. Understanding what causes insomnia can help you fight back. For example, if an underlying condition like anxiety, depression, or a sleep disorder is contributing to your insomnia, seeking treatment for the condition may also provide relief for your insomnia. Or, if a medication is causing the problem, talking to your doctor about changing the meds may do the trick.

    What if you dont know why youre having trouble sleeping? There are also a lot of general steps that anyone who wants to prevent insomnia can try:

    • Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. The consistency helps your body know what to expect.
    • Create a comfortable sleeping environment.
    • Make your bedroom a dark, quiet, cool sanctuary. If possible, keep television and other technology out.
    • Avoid large meals late in the evening.
    • Do not drink large servings of caffeine or alcohol late in the day.
    • Do not smoke or use nicotine.
    • Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine so that youre tired enough to sleep. When possible, try to go outside. Exposure to the sun can help reinforce your bodys circadian rhythm.
    • Avoid or strictly limit naps during the day.
    • Turn off cellphones, laptops, and televisions at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
    • Create a relaxing evening routine that helps you wind down and prepare to sleep.

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    How Is Insomnia Managed Or Treated

    Short-term insomnia often gets better on its own. For chronic insomnia, your healthcare provider may recommend:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: Therapy : CBT-I is a brief, structured intervention for insomnia that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.
    • Medications: Behavior and lifestyle changes can best help you improve your sleep over the long term. In some cases, though, taking sleeping pills for a short time can help you sleep. Doctors recommend taking sleep medicines only now and then or only for a short time. They are not the first choice for treating chronic insomnia.

    What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Insomnia

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    If you have insomnia, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:

    • Am I taking any medications keeping me awake?
    • What changes can I make to sleep better?
    • How does cognitive behavioral therapy improve sleep?
    • How do I find a therapist?
    • Could I have other sleep disorders like sleep apnea?

    If you’re suffering from insomnia, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for help. They may offer tips for managing issues that interfere with your sleep. Many people with insomnia rest better after changing their diet, lifestyle and nighttime routines. Or they may also recommend medications or cognitive behavioral therapy.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/15/2020.

    References

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    Causes Of Sleep Deprivation

    In a nutshell, sleep deprivation is caused by consistent lack of sleep or reduced quality of sleep. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can eventually lead to health consequences that affect your entire body. This may also be caused by an underlying sleep disorder.

    Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention.

    Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems wont function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life.

    A found that sleeping too little at night increases the risk of early death.

    Noticeable signs of sleep deprivation include:

    Stimulants, such as caffeine, arent enough to override your bodys profound need for sleep. In fact, these can make sleep deprivation worse by making it harder to fall asleep at night.

    This, in turn, may lead to a cycle of nighttime insomnia followed by daytime caffeine consumption to combat the tiredness caused by the lost hours of shut-eye.

    Behind the scenes, chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with your bodys internal systems and cause more than just the initial signs and symptoms listed above.

    Finally Can Weed Cause Insomnia

    Insomnia is a very common condition that can significantly impair many peoples quality of life. Marijuana use is still considered an unconventional treatment that seems to work for some people, but not all.

    Based on the scientific evidence we provided, its difficult to say with certainty whether marijuana causes insomnia or not, but we can say that it highly depends on the individual and on the strain.

    Given that long-term heavy use of weed has been associated with sleep disturbances, we can conclude that moderate use may be the safest way to use weed for insomnia, monitoring the bodys response to the treatment, and of course, consulting with a professional if needed.

    Disclaimer

    The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.

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