Do you toss and turn in bed for the most part of the night? Is going back to sleep after waking up at night difficult for you? Is your everyday life showing several signs that it has been affected by your inability to fall asleep or stay sleeping at night?
If your answer to the questions above is a resounding YES, then you are suffering from insomnia. Be aware. Insomnia can be deadly.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Insomnia was pointed out as a public health problem in America in 2016. Statistically-speaking, some 50 to 70 million adults in the country reported being suffering from sleep disorders with insomnia specifically as the most common among the group.
Furthermore, this sleep problem isn’t just a simple I can’t sleep at night complaint. Some 37.9% of the Americans who either can’t sleep, stay asleep or has poor sleep quality at night stated that they fell asleep unintentionally during the daytime in the following month while 4.7 % reported having fallen asleep unintentionally while they were driving. The latter occurrence – termed as drowsy driving – is causing some 1,550 deaths and 40,000 non-fatal accidents yearly in the US alone.
Aside from these negative consequences, we also have to put into account the ill effects sleeplessness brings to our bodies. So if you’re someone who suffers from poor sleep quality, you have to act fast and find a remedy. And for you to do it, you have to know the root of your problem.
Below are the most common causes of insomnia.
Stress brings on man’s fight-or-flight response wherein the body produces adrenaline and cortisol. These two stress hormones are responsible for that surge of energy that we seem to have in emergency and panic situations like fire.
The body’s inability to enter a restful state and eventually sleep is, at times, the result of this response, and it could cause a problem if our stress levels remain high for days.
Unlike other guided relaxation options, yoga nidra is an ancient practice that activates theta brain waves, putting you into a relaxed place between waking and sleep. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Most health experts agree that anxiety is the most common reason for insomnia. When we are worried, our minds are unable to shut down. There’s just something about the quiet night that serves as a trigger for the mind to:
- Think about memories, usually the bad ones
- Worry over the future
- Feel as if the responsibilities in life can eat the thinker up alive
- Or just be overstimulated for no apparent reason
What’s more, insomnia has the ability to worsen your anxiety. When you can’t sleep for several nights in a row, you start to worry, which will then result in more nights of not getting enough ZZZs.
Some of the common illnesses that cause insomnia are:
- Body pains like lower back pain or arthritis
- Gastrointestinal maladies like heartburn
- Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine problems
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
In addition to these, some medications can also bring about the inability to fall asleep. Examples of these are the medicines used to treat depression, relieve asthma and high blood pressure, and even birth control pills.
Recent research indicates that fragmented sleep harms memory. — William R. Klemm Ph.D.
Being a shift worker who has to work nights for a period of time, your job entails for you to work at nights or even simply bringing your work with you so you can do an overtime at home could be wreaking havoc on your body’s internal clock.
Alcohol may make you drowsy but it hinders you from having that peaceful rest your body needs. This is the reason why it doesn’t matter that you overslept when you’re drunk. You’ll always wake up feeling like crap after. Coffee and energy drinks contain caffeine and other stimulants designed to ward off tiredness and get the body going. The bad news is, when taken at a later time during the day, they may keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Having a bed that is too firm or provides inadequate support can leave you tossing and turning. Sleep can also feel elusive when the temperature is too hot or cold. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Poor Sleeping Habits
- Working late at night trying to get a project done
- Sleeping in front of your open laptop
- Bringing your phone to bed with you
- Having bright lights inside your room
- Watching a stimulating movie like an action flick before going to bed
- Simply watching TV and allowing it to blare as you settle down in bed
- Drinking coffee in the latter part of the day
- Overindulging in alcoholic drinks
These are some habits that you might have that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Insomnia is controllable. Loosen its grip on your life.