Sleeplessness is often something that can happen to you at any time, especially as you become older. Sometimes, you may be able to identify exactly the first time you began to experience interruptions in your night’s rest. Sometimes, you might not be to sleep for only a few days and soon feel better, especially if the cause of your sleeplessness is connected to a temporary issue, such as the pressure of an upcoming presentation, a painful relationship breakdown, or jet lag.
At other times, insomnia can be doggedly persistent. On the other hand, chronic insomnia is generally tied to an underlying mental or physical issue. When insomnia hits, you start to realise that the good nights’ sleep that you had one time taken for granted is now elusive, and that interruptive sleep is now the new reality.
If you’re currently unable to get a good night’s rest, you need to begin the process by first of all becoming a sleep detective. Research shows that emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression is responsible for as much as half of all insomnia issues. However, it is possible that your daytime habits, sleep pattern, and physical health may also play a key role. You should try to find out all of the possible causes of your sleep problems.
In order to identify the root cause of your insomnia and implement the right solution, you need to first of all try to try to find out exactly why you’re not able to go to sleep anymore. Once you identify the root cause, you can tailor the right treatment accordingly.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Are there any lights outside your bedroom that may be shining some light into your bedroom?
- Do you have a television or computer in your bedroom?
- Do you sleep in the same bed that you have had for over 10 years?
- Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?
- Do you sleep in an environment that is quiet and comfortable?
- Do you feel depressed, emotionally flat or hopeless?
- Are you currently experiencing chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
- Have you recently been through a traumatic experience?
- Have you been experiencing a lot of stress lately?
- Are you worried or occupied about an emotional issue that has been at the forefront of your mind lately?
- Are you worried or concerned about your current finances?
- Is there any other particular issue that causes you a lot of concern?
- Do you drink coffee, fizzy drinks or energy drinks on a regular basis?
- Are you currently overweight or obese?
- Are you currently taking any medications that might be disrupting your sleep?
- Are you experiencing any health issues that may be causing you to lose sleep?
- Are you menopausal or peri-menopausal?
- Are you pregnant?
- Are you in your forties or above?
Other reasons you might be suffering from bouts of sleeplessness for which you may have to see a doctor or medical professional:
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Finding it hard to get a good night’s rest can also worsen your anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms. Other common emotional and psychological causes of insomnia can include anger, worry, grief and trauma. Treating any associated or underlying problems is essential to successfully resolving your insomnia.
Other causes of insomnia include:
- Chronic pain
- Respiratory diseases
- Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome
- Hormone disorder
- Bruxism (grinding of teeth)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Acid reflux
- Kidney disease
- Heart conditions
- Other medical disorders or illnesses
Many medications can disrupt sleep. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin), diuretics, and slimming pills. Other medications that can lead to insomnia include antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives.
Are you currently taking prescribed medications including any medicines for:
- High blood pressure and hypertension
- Pain relief
- Inﬂammation (non-steroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs)
Some of the medications you might have been prescribed for these conditions might in fact be the actual cause of your sleeplessness. Even if you suspect this to be the case, DO NOT stop taking them as has been prescribed. What you should do instead is to go to your GP for advice or visit your pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for a medications review – to see whether there is any chance of getting recommended alternatives to those prescriptions.