Facts About Insomnia-Why Can't I Sleep?

insomnia information

Have you been asking, "Why can't I sleep?" The following facts about insomnia explain what causes insomnia, different types of insomnia and reasons for not being able to get the rest you need. It also explains how chronic sleep loss affects your health and well-being.

If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for seven to nine hours a night, you are not alone. 

One-third of adults experience sleep deprivation at some time. Women are twice as likely to have sleep troubles than men. Approximately half of all seniors over sixty don't sleep well.

Most adults can handle one or two nights of wakefulness with minimum temporary effects and no lasting ill effects.

After a few nights of tossing and turning, symptoms of insomnia become obvious to others as well as ourselves. Your relationships, job performance, mood, physical health, and even your safety are negatively affected. 

Long-term costs to health and well-being can be high when insomnia persists for months and years. 

What Causes Insomnia?

There are many reasons for insomnia including:

  • caffeine, alcohol or cigarette use, especially in the evening
  • eating a spicy or heavy meal before bed
  • noise while trying to go to sleep or stay asleep
  • too much TV watching or computer time
  • exercising within an hour or two of bedtime
  • allergies, illness and/or pain
  • certain medications 
  • certain supplements such as stimulating B-complex vitamins, kelp, thyroid and adrenal glandulars, too much vitamin C or E
  • you feel too hot, too cold, or are uncomfortable
  • hormonal imbalances
  • medical problems such as hyperthyroidism, mental disorders and neurological problems. For example, the wake center of your brain may stay too active when your sleep center is trying to signal time for sleep. 
  • problems such as sleep apnea, nightmares, sleepwalking
  • jet lag or shift work
  • mental or physical distress such as unresolved anger or anxiety, especially within several hours of bedtime
  • According to the National Sleep Foundation, 97% of people who have trouble sleeping have one or more electronic devices in their bedrooms.

You can easily eliminate many causes of insomnia by making a few adjustments to your diet or environment. Others may require a visit with your health provider or lifestyle changes.

Take a closer look at your health if none of these facts about insomnia answer your "Why can't I sleep?" question.  You may really have to dig.

For example, my mother's wakefulness got so bad she could hardly sleep at all. She didn't know her heart was sending her a message. It was struggling to pump properly when she was laying down. By keeping her awake it was keeping her alive. No one made the connection until she got a pacemaker. Then she began sleeping well for the first time in years.

Facts About Insomnia: Complications

Getting enough quality sleep is important to your health for many reasons It has positive effects on your mood and your physical health.

The effects of sleep deprivation worsen with time. The longer you can't get the rest you need, the greater your risks of health problems, safety concerns and compromised quality of life.

The amount and quality of sleep you get profoundly affects your mental and physical functioning. Too little 'shut eye' compromises these functions, making you susceptible to weight gain, heart issues, illness, emotional disturbances and injury. 

insomnia complications

Types of Insomnia

There are three main types of insomnia based on how long it lasts.

  • Transient insomnia lasts up to a week. Jet lag, a new sleeping environment,  stress or other life events may bring it on.
  • Acute insomnia lasts up to a month. It is also triggered by stress, anxiety or life changes.
  • Chronic insomnia means you have sleep difficulties three or more nights a week for months or even years. It can have major negative effects on your health and quality of life.

Other types of insomnia are dependent on when you have trouble sleeping.

  • Trouble falling asleep is common if you have stress insomnia or anxious thoughts. It is difficult to shut down when adrenaline is coursing through your system which makes your mind race and your heart pound. Natural stress remedies and techniques can help. Taking caffeine or another stimulant too late in the day can also keep you awake. 
  • Waking up too early in the morning and staying awake is called sleep-maintenance insomnia. This is most common in older women as the sleep cycle shortens and six to seven hours of shut-eye becomes normal. Laying there worrying about it only makes it worse.

This insomnia information will help you figure out why you can't sleep. Knowing the facts about insomnia is an important first step toward getting relief. When you understand the type of insomnia you have and your reasons for insomnia, you can take steps to remedy your sleep problem. Then you will be on your way to a good night rest. 

Continue reading for more facts about insomnia and how to sleep better:

Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/too-early-to-get-up-too-late-to-get-back-to-sleep

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