Not being able to sleep seems to be the most common of evils lately. From about the age of ten, almost everyone can relate to spending a night where you are finding it especially hard to go to sleep or one where you keep getting woken up every few hours. Nowadays insomnia is much more common than it was a couple of years ago. The increase in electronic devices, overworked people and overall faster way of living have significantly affected the way in which people go to sleep. About 30% of adults experience acute insomnia often. 6% of these further develop this acute insomnia into chronic insomnia. Why are so many people not able to sleep? What does it have to do with? Let’s talk about what causes insomnia and some ways for you to ease it.
First of all, what is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleeping condition that affects your ability to easily fall or stay asleep for more than a couple hours (or sometimes minutes). Insomnia often affects the everyday activities and interactions of whoever suffers from it, which is why it is important that it is treated somehow. It usually has repercussions in your energy levels and general mood (it can cause extreme mood swings as well). Insomnia is also likely to cause serious health and performance issues. The main characteristic of this disorder is the utter inability to sleep good, regardless of the conditions.
People with insomnia will feel dissatisfied with the quality and amount of sleep they got or are getting. This is one of the most important characteristics because people have different necessities when it comes to sleep. If they are getting 4 hours of sleep but don’t feel dissatisfied, then they probably don’t suffer from insomnia.
Most people experience acute insomnia at some point in their lives.
What causes insomnia? Medical Causes
Insomnia is, after all, a medical condition. Even though the causes haven’t been 100% verified a lot of medical conditions have proven to have a close relation to insomnia. In some cases, this condition causes insomnia directly, while in others insomnia is caused by the symptoms.
Some conditions that tend to cause insomnia are nasal or sinus allergies, gastrointestinal problems, endocrine problems, arthritis, asthma, Parkinson's, chronic pain, low back pain, etc... The medications taken for most of these conditions can also cause insomnia. Other pharmaceutical substances, such as birth control, or antidepressants are likely to increase one’s likeness to suffer from insomnia too.
Additionally, insomnia might just be a symptom for another sleep condition. Disorders like restless leg syndrome, in which a person has the uncontrollable necessity to move their legs. Sleep apnea is also common and linked to insomnia. People who suffer from this have respiratory issues, they wake suddenly and frequently during the night. If you have trouble sleeping regularly you should check with your doctor to make sure it is only insomnia and if so, how to solve the issue.
How depression can be a cause from insomnia and vice-versa
Apart from the fact that depression meds can increase your likeliness to suffer from insomnia. Psychiatric conditions such as depression can also cause psychological struggles. These will create struggles and make it hard for the person to fall asleep. In the same vicious circle, insomnia can cause shifts in mood and hormonal shifts. These factors can cause both psychiatric issues and insomnia. Severe insomnia is much higher in depression patients, and at the same time insomnia can trigger depression. The symptoms of both conditions can be linked and are similar.
How anxiety can cause insomnia
Most adults tend to have trouble sleeping because they are feeling nervous or overly worried. However, people who experience anxiety have these feelings periodically, developing a pattern of insomnia.
The symptoms of anxiety that are closely linked with insomnia are tension, being caught up in past events, excessive worrying about future events, overwhelming feelings, or feeling overstimulated.
Anxiety can be linked to both onset insomnia (not being able to fall asleep) or maintenance insomnia (waking up constantly). This is because quietness and inactivity are likely to trigger anxiety behaviors.
Anxiety and insomnia can also feed each other. After spending some nights without sleeping because of anxiety, the condition increases. This happens because of lack of sleep and anxiety over not sleeping.
How your lifestyle can cause insomnia
insomnia is likely to be triggered by your sleep patterns and certain behaviors. An unhealthy lifestyle is probably one of the most common causes of insomnia. Notice that an unhealthy lifestyle includes levels of stress, substance abuse, caffeine abuse. Some specific actions that can cause insomnia are evening working at home (if you don’t do home office), napping, sleep later to make up for sleep loss, shift working and day sleeping.
Most cases of chronic insomnia will start with acute insomnia and later on become a bigger problem. This can happen because there isn’t a change in lifestyle to fix original insomnia, so the problem escalates.
Things that help with insomnia
So, overly simplified, the three things you need to do to not have insomnia are contrary to what causes insomnia. You have to be healthy, not be depressed, relax, and have a healthy sleep pattern. If only there was something that could let you have all three.
Here are some simple tips to reduce your insomnia;
- Stay Hydrated
- Remove un-natural highs including coffee and energy drinks
- Disconnect from your PC or mobile devices
- Make use of essential oils which can have a relaxing effect
- Reduce your bedroom lighting
- Stay clean & tidy
Oh, but there is CBD. Even though it’s effects are not as explored and it is rather taboo in many places, cannabinoids can really help with insomnia issues. If you are not into getting stoned, you can use CBD oil. CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t have THC. However, CBD oil has an effect on the endocannabinoid system. It sends signals into specific receptors (CB1 and CB2), these receptors help with relaxation, REM sleep quality increase and reduce depression.