Understanding Insomnia

You sigh and turn to your other side…you look at the clock again and see that an hour has passed. “Will I ever sleep,” you think for the hundredth time that night. If this were just a “one time” issue it might be okay, but if you are enduring this pattern repeatedly and are starting to actually dread your regular bed time it is likely that you are living with insomnia.

Before you get even more upset about the problems you have with sleep, take heart that around 40% of all adults experience some difficulties with sleeping. This has led to a tremendous amount of research to uncover the causes, and what has been learned is that most cases of insomnia are not “independent” but are instead a matter of a primary condition.

For example, the following list of causes tends to lead to days or prolonged periods of disrupted sleep:

  • Depression – one of the worst parts of depression is that it creates an immense sense of fatigue, but you may be unable to sleep at all.
  • Stress or Anxiety – though these two issues are different, they can both lead to seriously disrupted sleep patterns. Issues like work, relationships, finances, and general emotional or physical trauma can cause problems.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine use – each of these materials is a stimulant. When you rely on them to create wakefulness they can establish patterns in the body that interfere with sleep.
  • Medical problems – though this is not truly insomnia because it might be caused by pain or discomfort, sleep disorders relating to medical problems can be due to diabetes, arthritis, apnea and more.
  • Medications – many OTC medications can lead to disrupted sleep. For instance, decongestants and weight loss products may interrupt sleep. Also, the side effects from many prescription medications include disrupted sleep.
  • Dietary choices – if you eat too late at night or eat foods that cause digestive disruption it will usually cause you to find it challenging to get to sleep at a normal time.
  • Change in routines – did you move to a new home? Change jobs? Alter your routine? Even the prospect of great changes can cause sleeplessness.
  • Sleeping disorders – there are also sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless legs, and snoring that will cause you to find it very difficult to get to sleep.

As you can see, there are many reasons that you might encounter long or short periods of insomnia. As they say, however, “knowledge is power” and this means that knowing why you are experiencing this issue is going to help you to overcome it.

Finding a Remedy
So, how on earth is insomnia treated if it can be caused by so many things, and can even be brought on by multiple issues at once? The first step is to use the list of causes above to determine if any of them are a factor in your life.

If so, you can then begin making any possible changes. For instance, it is easy enough to alter your diet, eliminate substances that are impairing sleep, and use relaxation techniques to overcome anxiety. If you know that your issues are medically related it could be necessary to consult with a physician. They can often help you with everything from behavior modification to medications designed to facilitate a return to normal sleep.

You may not want to rush right into a medication regimen if it is a matter of altering a pattern in your life or getting some beneficial therapies. Your doctor is your best resource for finding a good solution.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.