Sleep is one of humanity’s basic necessities, along with food, water, and oxygen. But while we can store food, water, and oxygen supplies for when we have a shortage, we can’t do the same for sleep. That’s why so many people suffer from insomnia. In fact, some estimates have 60 million people in the US who experience sleeplessness every year.
Sometimes this can be a temporary condition. Called acute insomnia, it may go away after a while. But some people suffer from chronic insomnia, when they can’t sleep well every few nights (or even every night) of each week for more than a month. Some people can’t get to sleep right away, others wake up after only a few hours and get back to sleep again, and there are those who wake up after sleep feeling dead tired as if they didn’t get to sleep at all.
There are many possible reasons for insomnia. They may be external stimuli, a health condition, or a substance you take. Some types of insomnia are definitely temporary, but chronic insomnia causes must be investigated when the condition lasts for more than a month.
Sometimes you can’t sleep simply because there’s something bothering you in the night. Perhaps the room is too bright, or maybe the traffic outside your room is disrupting your sleep. You can easily solve this problem with a sleep mask and ear buds.
The temperature may also be causing you to lose sleep. When it’s too warm or too cold for comfort, the body may keep you awake.
Sleeping with your pet may also be causing your insomnia. You may think that your pet gives you comfort when you sleep. But if in fact you’re suffering from sleeplessness, then perhaps you need to get your pet to sleep somewhere else. A Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center survey revealed that more than half of people who sleep with pets admit that the practice makes it harder to sleep.
The main problem is that cats and dogs don’t have the same sleep cycles as humans do. So in the wee hours of the morning at 2 or 3 AM your pet may be fully awake and eager to play with you whether or not you’re asleep or awake. Sometimes even when your pet is asleep some subtle movements can keep you awake too.
Jet lag is one of the more common types of sleep disorder. Our bodies operate on a 24-hour cycle called “circadian rhythms”, and this cycle can’t adjust right away when you suddenly transport yourself into a different time zone.
A different work schedule can also be among the insomnia causes you have to deal with. When you’re faced with a late shift or you have to wake up far earlier than you’re used to, sleep issues may also crop up at night.
Foods and Drinks
Your insomnia may also be caused by something you ate or drank. For example, you may have trouble getting to sleep if you consume some form of stimulant too close to your normal sleeping time. That means you should perhaps avoid that cup of coffee, tea or soda so late in the afternoon because they contain caffeine. The nicotine in tobacco products is also a stimulant as well.
Some people may also use alcohol as a sedative, but this is not advisable. While it may make you sleepy it actually prevents you from achieving a deep sleep, and you may wake up in the middle of the night.
It’s also not a good idea to eat too much late at night. A full stomach may feel uncomfortable when you lie down, and that may prevent you from falling asleep. Heartburn is also a possible consequence of eating too much, and that can also make you feel uncomfortable enough to rob you of your sleep.
Sometimes you can’t sleep because you’re stressed or anxious about something. When these problems crop up, you can lose sleep over them. Common issues that can act as insomnia causes include worrying about your health or the health of a loved one, the loss of a loved one, and the possibility of traumatic even such as a divorce or a loss of a job.
Sometimes the anxiety may be more serious than the run of the mill worries we usually fret about. You may be suffering from post-traumatic stress or depression. Other mental health issues can also cause insomnia.
Some health conditions may be the underlying cause of your chronic insomnia. You may have a true sleeping disorder, or a medical condition that causes pain so that you can’t fall asleep.
Other conditions that may cause insomnia include heart disease, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, a respiratory problem like asthma, a hormonal condition like an overactive thyroid, or a problem with the urinary and genitival organs such as an enlarged prostate.
Sometimes it’s not the medical condition that’s causing the insomnia, but the medications you’re taking for a particular health condition. Asthma may cause sleeplessness, but some asthma medications actually cause insomnia as a side effect. Other medications that may also include insomnia as one of their side effects include stimulant drugs used to treat narcolepsy or ADHD, hormone replacement therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hypertension medication like beta blockers, antidepressants, and medicines for epilepsy.
Dealing with Insomnia
So what can you do about it? Some experts have no qualms about recommending drugs for insomnia, although the use of these things can result in some rather disturbing consequences such as addiction. But some over the counter remedies are much better such as the Lunar Sleep all-natural sleep aid. Its main ingredient is the hormone melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland to prepare the body for sleep. This sleeping aid doesn’t contain any addictive ingredient, nor does it contain lactose, wheat, yeast, or gluten. It’s also mild enough for children.
But that’s only to help with the immediate cause of insomnia. You also have to make sure that you address the various chronic insomnia causes that may be causing your sleeplessness in the first place.