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Sleeping Difficulty – The Causes of Insomnia

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Causes of Insomnia

Unable to sleep due to Insomnia

If you find it difficult to sleep or maintain a good, long sleep, you might have an insomnia. This is a sleeping disorder that can make a person sleep deprived, either by making it difficult to fall asleep or having the difficulty of sleeping without interruption or often waking up in the middle of the night. Insomnia can become a problem because one's inability to get enough sleep can take a toll on their ability to become highly functional during the day because of the frequent episodes of sleepiness. Not only can sleepless nights take away a person's energy during the day, it can also affect one's mood and may result in anxiety and restlessness.

Understanding what causes insomnia

There are different causes of insomnia and the extent of the sleep deprivation that an individual experiences usually differ. Identifying the main cause of your insomnia is important in order to know the proper treatment that you need in order to improve your condition. The most effective way of insomnia management is getting to the root of the problem on what actually triggers insomnia. Insomnia, most of the time, is not a single problem. It is usually accompanied by other causes that results in your difficulty of getting sleep. Here are some of the possible causes of insomnia to help you understand its implication to your health.

Drugs/Medications that cause insomnia

There are medications that are known to cause insomnia. Taking the following drugs can result in sleeping difficulty which you should try discussing with your doctor right away. Try asking for alternative medications for your condition in case you are taking these medicines that might be causing your insomnia.

  • Beta blockers “ these drugs are usually prescribed for the management of hypertension. It helps to control the blood pressure and prevents the occurrence of the abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmia that can result in cardiac arrest. Those taking beta-blockers experiences nightmares and frequent awakenings in between sleep. It is believed that the drugs block the secretion of melatonin which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep.
  • Alpha blockers “ these drug types are also prescribed for regulating the blood pressure and as a treatment for Raynaud's disease and benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is associated with insomnia because of its ability to decrease the rapid eye movement (REM) during sleep, which consequently results in the difficulty of maintaining a sleep and memory problems.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors “ these drugs, more commonly called as the SSRI anti-depressants, helps to treat depression. While it helps to relieve an individual from the feeling of anxiety, the SSRI drugs are believed to cause behavioral problems like agitation and impulsivity, and is also associated with causing insomnia and mild tremor.
  • Corticosteroids “ these drugs are prescribed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and allergies. They are associated to cause insomnia because of its effect on the adrenal glands that induces its hyperactivity, thereby causing the body to be exhausted instead of feeling relaxed.
  • Angiotensin converting enzymes inhibitors “ known as ACE inhibitors, this type of drugs are used in treating heart diseases. It helps prevent the blood pressure to rise by causing an increase in the release of bradykinin, which enlarges the blood vessels. High level of bradykinin in the system can cause dry coughing which can prevent a person from enjoying a peaceful sleep. ACE inhibitors also activate the release of potassium in the body that can cause muscle cramping and aching joints which are enough to disturb one's sleep during the night.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers “ this type of medications is taken by patients with a heart disease, type 2 diabetes and those with a kidney disease. Its effect is similar to ACE inhibitors that releases high levels of potassium in the body that can cause significant discomforts of diarrhea and muscle and joint pains that make a person feel restless while sleeping.
  • Second generation H1 antagonists “ this drug is known for its side effects of anxiety and insomnia owing to its activity of inhibiting the release of acetylcholine in the body.

Medical Causes of insomnia

An existing medical condition can also contribute to the occurrence of insomnia. In some cases, insomnia only becomes the symptoms of these conditions and is not the primary problem of the person who experiences difficulty in sleeping.

  • Restless leg syndrome “ this is a type of sleep disorder wherein the person finds the need to move the legs because of the uncomfortable sensation that is felt in the legs that affects one's sleep.
  • Sleep apnea “ this is a medical condition that is associated with insomnia because the person experiences difficulty in breathing or the feeling of lack of oxygen while sleeping. As a result, the person will often awake in the middle of a sleep and may become awake throughout the night.
  • Nasal allergies or sinusitis “ this condition can result in an obstruction in the breathing which makes sleeping difficult and often interrupted.
  • Painful conditions “ various forms of diseases can cause pain that can potentially disrupt sleep that can lead to insomnia. Common painful conditions that can disturb sleep are arthritis and chronic back pain.
  • Parkinson's disease “ a person with a Parkinson's disease may often experience anxiety, depression and tremors that can cause sleep disruptions.
  • Narcolpesy “ this is a sleep disorder condition that results in daytime sleepiness, usually feeling sleepy at odd hours during daytime. The condition is associated with insomnia because it causes disturbance in sleep at night and the person feels extremely fatigued during the day. Sleep paralysis is a common symptom of narcolepsy accompanied by difficulty in getting sleep.
  • Hyperthyroidism “ an endocrine problem, hyperthyroidism triggers nervousness and sleeplessness in a person because of increased tension and anxiety.

Psychological causes of insomnia

Psychological causes can also significantly contribute to a person's inability of getting a good sleep such as the following conditions:

  • Anxiety “ there are serious forms of anxiety that can result in insomnia such as post traumatic stress disorder. The level of anxiety emanating from this form of anxiety is unnatural and may persist to an extent of depriving the person the ability to get enough sleep.
  • Stress “ psychological stress can make a person think about things that makes them feel uncomfortable and worrisome which results in affecting the quality of sleep that they get at night.
  • Depression “ this is a condition of feeling down and full of disappointments in life that becomes stressful to the mind, resulting in insomnia or sleep deprivation.

 Unhealthy lifestyle as a cause of insomnia

An unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to the quality of sleep that you get. This includes the following activities that may cause insomnia:

  • Working at home “ taking your work at home can make you feel restless, concerned and worrisome. This makes it difficult for you to relax before sleeping, which can result in insomnia.
  • Taking too much caffeine “ drinking caffeinated beverages can stimulate your brain to become active throughout the day and night.
  • Irregular working shifts “ the failure of establishing a sleeping habit can tremendously affect your body's ability to sleep at regular hours. A sudden shift of your work schedule between day and night can cause havoc to your body's circadian rhythm or more commonly known as the body clock.

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