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Why Do People Get Insomnia

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What Are Primary Sleep Disorders

Insomnia: why can’t I sleep?

In addition to the causes and conditions listed above, there are also a number of conditions that are associated with insomnia in the absence of another underlying condition. These are called primary sleep disorders, in which the sleep disorder is the main cause of insomnia. These conditions generally cause chronic or long-term insomnia. Some of the diseases are listed below:

  • Idiopathic insomnia or childhood insomnia, which start early on in life and results in lifelong sleep problems. This may run in families.
  • Central sleep apnea. This is a complex disorder. It can be the primary cause of the insomnia itself or it may be caused by other conditions, such as brain injury, heart failure, high altitude, and low oxygen levels.
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Periodic Limb movement disorder
  • Circadian rhythm disorders which are conditions with unusual timing of sleep .
  • Sleep state misperception, in which the patient has a perception or feeling of not sleeping adequately, but there are no objective findings of any sleep disturbance.
  • Insufficient sleep syndrome, in which the person’s sleep is insufficient because of environmental situations and lifestyle choices, such as sleeping in a bright or noisy room.
  • Inadequate sleep hygiene, in which the individual has poor sleep or sleep preparation habits
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Where Can I Go For Support

You may feel depressed or anxious because you are sleeping poorly. Talk about your feelings with your caregiver or with someone close to you. For more information, write or call one of the following groups.

  • National Sleep Foundation1522 K Street NW, Suite 500Washington , DC 20005
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood InstituteHealth Information Center

What Problems Might I Have With Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, but many of us have problems with it. You might recognise some of the experiences listed below, or have other difficulties with sleep that aren’t mentioned here.

You might:

  • find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up earlier than you’d like to
  • have problems that disturb your sleep, such as panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares or psychosis
  • find it hard to wake up or get out of bed
  • often feel tired or sleepy this could be because you’re not sleeping enough, not getting good quality sleep or because of health problems
  • sleep a lot which could include sleeping at times when you want, or need, to be awake.

“When I get depressed, I sleep so much at its worst it was 18 hours a day, because it was the only way that I could stop thinking and stop my mind from saying awful things to me.”

If you’re having problems sleeping, you might:

  • be more likely to feel anxious, depressed or suicidal
  • be more likely to have psychotic episodes poor sleep can trigger mania, psychosis or paranoia, or make existing symptoms worse
  • feel lonely or isolated for example, if you don’t have the energy to see people or they don’t seem to understand
  • struggle to concentrate, or make plans and decisions
  • feel irritable or not have energy to do things
  • have problems with day to day life for example, at work or with family and friends
  • be more affected by other health problems, including mental health problems.

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Why Do We Need Sleep

    Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.

    Most adults require between seven and nine hours of nightly sleep. Children and teenagers need substantially more sleep, particularly if they are younger than five years of age. Work schedules, day-to-day stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment, and medical conditions can all prevent us from receiving enough sleep. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep each night but for some, chronic lack of sleep may be the first sign of a sleep disorder.

    How Could Mental Health Problems Affect My Sleep

    Why cant I sleep? A look into what causes insomnia.

    If you live with a mental health problem, this could affect your sleep in lots of ways. For example:

    • Anxiety can cause racing or repetitive thoughts, and worries that keep you awake. You may also have panic attacks while you’re trying to sleep.
    • Depression and seasonal affective disorder can make you sleep more, including staying in bed for longer or sleeping more often. Depression can also cause insomnia.
    • If you’ve gone through trauma, this can cause flashbacks, nightmares or night terrors that disturb your sleep. You might feel unsafe or uncomfortable in bed or in the dark.
    • Paranoia and psychosis may make it difficult to sleep. You may hear voices, or see things you find frightening or disturbing.
    • Mania often causes feelings of energy and elation, so you might not feel tired or want to sleep. Racing thoughts can also keep you awake and cause insomnia.
    • Psychiatric medication can cause side effects including insomnia, disturbed sleep, nightmares and oversleeping. Stopping psychiatric drugs can also cause sleep problems.

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    Insomnia Causes Due To Psychiatric Issues

    Psychiatric disorders or issues are the most commonly known cause of insomnia.

    These include:

    Anxiety. Many people with an anxiety disorder have trouble with their own thoughts and worries keeping them up at night. When they finally do get to sleep, they often wake up and the anxiety keeps them from being able to fall back asleep.

    Unfortunately, not only can anxiety cause insomnia, but insomnia can also cause anxiety. This makes it important to find the root cause of whats going on so the cycle can be stopped.

    Depression. Depression is not the same thing as anxiety. But like anxiety, depression can also lead to insomnia. This can be an ongoing, chronic problem for someone thats chronically depressed. It may also be a seasonal condition in someone with seasonal affective disorder , which happens in the dark, gloomy, winter months.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder . For someone with PTSD, being in the dark can bring on flashbacks and feelings of fear and anxiety. If theyre able to fall asleep, they may sometimes awaken with nightmares.

    Stress and worry. You dont have to have a diagnosed with a mental disorder to have stress or worry keep you up at night. Often times people have insomnia while going through some kind of stressful life event, such as loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or a divorce, for example.

    How Is Insomnia Treated

    If your insomnia is caused by a short-term change in your sleep/wake schedule, such as with jet lag, your sleep schedule will probably return to normal on its own.

    Chronic or long-term insomnia can be treated with steps you can try at home to sleep better, cognitive behavioral therapy , and prescription medicines.

    If insomnia is a symptom or side effect of another health problem, your doctor may recommend treating the other health problem at the same time. When the other health problem is treated, secondary insomnia often goes away on its own. For example, if menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, are keeping you awake, your doctor might try treating your hot flashes first. Research suggests that older women who use hormone replacement therapy, eat healthy foods based on a Mediterranean diet, and limit how much caffeine and alcohol they drink may have fewer sleep problems than women who did not do those things.20

    Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have symptoms of insomnia, and ask about the best ways to treat insomnia.

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    Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder

    People generally dream the most during REM sleep. Unlike most adults, those who have REM sleep behavior disorder will physically act out on their dreams. This can entail violent movements that put the sleeper and their partner at a higher risk of bodily harm.

    RBD has shown to be unusually common in elderly men. There is also a link between this disorder and degenerative neurologic conditions such as Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia.

    Since BZD medications are often prescribed for RBD, treating this disorder can be difficult for elderly patients. However, people with RBD can take precautions by optimizing the safety of their sleep area. Measures may include locking windows, placing the mattress on the floor, and removing objects from the bedroom that can cause injuries.

    Dietary Supplements For Insomnia

    Why So Many People Get Sleep Paralysis

    There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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    What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Insomnia

    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

    Tips For Preventing Insomnia

    Chronic insomnia may necessitate prescription medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other types of formal treatment. For some people, practicing healthy lifestyle habits and good sleep hygiene can alleviate insomnia symptoms and help them sleep more soundly. The following sleep hygiene measures can be beneficial for people with insomnia:

    • Limiting or eliminating naps, especially late in the day
    • Restricting the use of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products in the evening
    • Avoiding late-night meals

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    Lifestyle Causes Of Insomnia

    Lifestyle Habits. Lifestyle habits that can contribute to insomnia are not having a regular bedtime routine, not having a comfortable or safe sleep environment, and using technology before bedtime are all examples of things that can give you sleep problems.

    Lifestyle habits, such as consumption of nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can also lead to insomnia.

    If you have insomnia, its important to take a look at what may be causing your sleeplessness.

    Insomnia can lead to a number of problems including daytime fatigue, poor job performance, worsening symptoms of anxiety or mental illness, or accidents while driving. If left untreated it can lead to more serious health conditions.

    Fortunately, whatever it is thats causing your anxiety can likely be corrected, and many times without medication.

    If youre having trouble sleeping and think you may have insomnia, your doctor can help you figure out the best treatment for you.

    Treatment Of Insomnia And Eds

    Can You Die from Insomnia?

    Treatment of insomnia depends on its cause and severity but typically involves a combination of the following:

    • Treatment of disorders contributing to insomnia

    • Good sleep hygiene

    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

    • Sleep aids

    If insomnia results from another disorder, that disorder is treated. Such treatment may improve sleep. For example, if people have insomnia and depression, treating the depression often relieves the insomnia. Some antidepressant drugs also have sedative effects that help with sleep when the drugs are given before bed. However, these drugs may also cause daytime sleepiness, particularly in older people.

    Alcohol is not an appropriate sleep aid and may actually interfere with sleep.

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    What Are The Causes Of Insomnia In Teens

    Insomnia has been estimated to affect up to 23.8% of teens. Biological changes push teens toward a later, night owl sleep schedule, but they usually cant sleep as long as they would like in the morning because of school start times.

    Teens may be especially susceptible to overscheduling and stress from school, work, and social obligations. Teens also have high rates of using electronic devices in their bedroom. Each of these factors contributes to a high rate of insomnia during adolescence.

    Insomnia And Mental Health Disorders

    Mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder frequently give rise to serious sleeping problems. It is estimated that 40% of people with insomnia have a mental health disorder.

    These conditions can incite pervasive negative thoughts and mental hyperarousal that disturbs sleep. In addition, studies indicate that insomnia can exacerbate mood and anxiety disorders, making symptoms worse and even increasing the risk of suicide in people with depression.

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    Causes Of Insomnia: Figuring Out Why You Cant Sleep

    In order to properly treat and cure your insomnia, you need to become a sleep detective. Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression cause half of all insomnia cases. But your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health may also play a role. Try to identify all possible causes of your insomnia. Once you figure out the root cause, you can tailor treatment accordingly.

    Causes Of Chronic Insomnia

    Why Do You Sleep Better in a Cold Room

    Sleep problems seem to run in families. Many people with chronic insomnia have a family history of insomnia, with the mother being the most commonly affected family member. Because there are so many factors involved in insomnia, a genetic component is difficult to define. However, recent studies indicate that several genes are associated with the presence of chronic insomnia.

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    Europe And The United States

    Early in the 20th century in the United States, a mental hygiene movement developed, aiming to prevent mental disorders. Clinical psychology and social work developed as professions. World War I saw a massive increase of conditions that came to be termed “shell shock“.

    World War II saw the development in the U.S. of a new psychiatric manual for categorizing mental disorders, which along with existing systems for collecting census and hospital statistics led to the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The International Classification of Diseases also developed a section on mental disorders. The term stress, having emerged from endocrinology work in the 1930s, was increasingly applied to mental disorders.

    Deinstitutionalization gradually occurred in the West, with isolated psychiatric hospitals being closed down in favor of community mental health services. A consumer/survivor movement gained momentum. Other kinds of psychiatric medication gradually came into use, such as “psychic energizers” and lithium. Benzodiazepines gained widespread use in the 1970s for anxiety and depression, until dependency problems curtailed their popularity.

    Insomnia Causes And Symptoms

    Insomnia is believed to originate due to a state of hyperarousal that can impact sleep-onset and sleep maintenance. Hyperarousal can be mental, physical, or a combination of both. Environmental, physiological, and psychological factors can all play a role in insomnia. These include the following:

    Insomnia has also been linked to unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits. Many people adopt these habits when they are younger, making them hard to break as adults. These habits can include going to bed at a different time each night or napping too long during the day. Exposure to screen devices like computers, televisions, and cell phones can also cause sleep problems, as can working evening or night shifts. Other factors can cause difficulty falling or staying asleep, such as inadequate exercise during the day or excessive noise and/or light in the sleepers bedroom.

    The most common symptoms among chronic insomnia patients include difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, waking up earlier than planned, and not feeling tired or ready for bed at scheduled times. Daytime impairment is a necessary component of insomnia, and this can also manifest in different ways. Common impairments include fatigue and malaise, memory and concentration difficulties, mood disturbances and irritability, and behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and aggression.

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    When To Seek Medical Care For Insomnia

    When to call the doctor

    • A person with insomnia needs a doctor’s attention if it lasts longer than three to four weeks, or sooner if it interferes with a person’s daytime activities and ability to function.

    When to go to the hospital

    • Generally, a person will not be hospitalized for most types of insomnia. However, when a lack of sleep results in an accident or other bodily harm, the patient might be admitted to the hospital for treatment of a condition resulting from the insomnia.
    • Worsening pain or increased difficulty breathing at night also may indicate a person needs to seek emergency medical care. However, chronic insomnia, if not associated with an injury or resultant life-threatening problem typically does not belong in the emergency department. It is a condition to discuss with a primary care physician or a psychiatrist.

    Cure For Chronic Insomnia

    12 Home Remedies for Insomnia

    If your chronic insomnia is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as acid reflux or pain, treating the condition may cure your insomnia.

    Chronic health conditions that cause insomnia can be managed with changes in treatment, in turn managing or preventing insomnia. Talk to your doctor about changing medications or treatment plans if a drug youre taking is causing insomnia.

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    Obesity And Weight Gain

    Lack of sleep causes hormonal, metabolic, and brain activity changes that affect weight and appetite regulation. Research increasingly suggests that people who are sleep-deprived are more likely to have problems with weight gain and obesity, which can increase the risk for other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

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