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Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | Sleep Reset

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Insomnia is a very common problem for many adults. It can prevent you from falling asleep, make it difficult to stay asleep, and it can lead to you waking up earlier than you’d like.

Suffering from insomnia can easily affect your daily life, making it more difficult than it needs to be. Fortunately, there are ways to treat insomnia so you can sleep deeper and fall asleep faster. Let’s talk more about insomnia, the different types, and how you can overcome it.

Learn How To Address Your Insomnia

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Insomnia can come and go throughout your life. There are also different types of insomnia, so it affects people in different ways. 

Insomnia usually isn’t a medically urgent condition, but it can have long-term risks. That’s why it’s essential to diagnose your insomnia and treat the source of your condition.

What Are the Causes?

There are a wide variety of factors that can cause insomnia, both external and internal. Here are the primary causes:

  • Stress - Insomnia can be caused by general stress or by stress over a significant life event
  • Sleep schedule disruptions - Changes to your sleep schedule can cause insomnia. This includes things like jet lag, working irregular hours at work, and not going to sleep at the same time consistently
  • Genetics - Like many conditions, insomnia can sometimes run in your family
  • Environmental factors - If you’re trying to sleep in a room that’s too loud, too bright, too cold, or too hot.
  • Mental health issues - Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can sometimes make sleep difficult or ruin your sleep schedule.
  • Physical health conditions - A number of physical states or conditions can cause insomnia, such as hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, diabetes, etc.
  • Medication side effects - Certain medications may have side effects that make it difficult to sleep
  • Sleep disorders - Insomnia can be brought on by other sleep disorders like night terrors and sleep apnea

Determining the causes of your insomnia can make it easier to manage.

Is It Genetic?

You may haInsomnia can be genetic. If you have a family history of insomnia, you may be at risk for it as well.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of insomnia are fairly easy to recognize. People tend to underestimate the severity of their sleep problems and think that they don’t have insomnia. You may have insomnia if you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep, frequently waking throughout the night
  • Trouble falling back asleep after waking
  • Not feeling refreshed when you wake up
  • Feeling tired the next day

Some of these symptoms can overlap with other sleep disorders, so make sure to keep that in mind when self-diagnosing insomnia. If left untreated, insomnia can cause other symptoms such as:

  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory retention
  • Irritability
  • Trouble regulating mood
  • Difficulty with daily tasks

It’s best to start managing your sleep habits to treat insomnia as soon as possible, so you can start sleeping better again.

Types of Insomnia

People can experience insomnia in a few different ways. The types of insomnia include: short-term, chronic, sleep onset, and sleep maintenance insomnia.

When you can identify the type of insomnia you may have, it becomes easier to seek the appropriate treatment and start sleeping better. Here are the main differences between each type of insomnia:

Short-term Insomnia

Short-term insomnia, also known as acute insomnia, is the most common type of insomnia. Acute insomnia refers to sleeping issues that can last a few days two a few weeks, but typically not any longer than that. Acute insomnia is usually brought on by factors like jet lag and schedule changes.

Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is when you have one or more of the symptoms listed above, three or more days per week, for a period of three months or longer. If you’re consistently having this much trouble sleeping, it could be due to certain lifestyle choices, sleep habits, or medical conditions.

Sleep Onset Insomnia

Sleep onset insomnia specifically refers to insomnia sufferers who have trouble falling asleep. Sleep onset insomnia can be caused by late caffeine use, lifestyle choices, mental health conditions, and other triggers.

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Sleep maintenance insomnia specifically refers to insomnia sufferers who can’t stay asleep or who wake up too early. This insomnia is often brought on by physical or mental health conditions and various other insomnia triggers.

What Are the Health Effects?

Continuous sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your health. Your brain and body need quality sleep to function optimally, so when you’re not giving them the sleep they need, you’ll start to experience negative effects. 

Insomnia can also increase your risk for developing certain medical conditions or it can worsen conditions you have currently. Here are some of the conditions you may be at risk for if you consistently are deprived of sleep:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma attacks
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Weak immune system

In addition to increased risk for medical conditions, insomnia can also affect your daily life in the following ways:

  • Inability to perform at your job or at school
  • Lower sex drive or decreased ability to sexually perform
  • Inability to manage emotions
  • Difficulty concentrating and retaining memory

In short, when your sleep quality and sleep schedule are bad, your general health usually gets worse.

How It Relates to Anxiety and Depression

Insomnia can be brought on by anxiety and depression, and it can also contribute to anxiety and depression. This creates a vicious cycle, where anxiety keeps you awake at night, then  worsens from a lack of sleep. This makes it increasingly difficult for you to manage your emotions during the daytime..

Insomnia can be caused by short-term anxiety brought on by stressful life events or it can be a result of diagnosed anxiety disorder. If you’re dealing with insomnia and anxiety, there are some measures you can take to reduce your stress and improve your sleep, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to restructure your thoughts about sleep
  • Anxiety medication if prescribed by your doctor
  • Exercising to manage mood and anxiety symptoms
  • Implementing relaxation techniques in your daily life
  • Changing your diet to reduce inflammation
  • Changing your lifestyle and sleep habits

Insomnia and depression can also go hand-in-hand. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression and vice-versa. Depression can also bring on other sleep disorders. Here are some ways to manage your symptoms for both conditions:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Antidepressants if prescribed by your doctor
  • Changing your lifestyle and sleep habits

Though it can be tough to manage two conditions that worsen each other at once, it is possible. Having the appropriate treatment plan in place is key.

Diagnosis

It is possible to self-diagnose insomnia, but it’s also a good idea to get an expert opinion. If you suspect you have insomnia, finding out for sure will let you start on the best path to treating it. Here are some ways that you can diagnose insomnia:

  • Look at your symptoms - Are they consistent with insomnia symptoms or are there symptoms that usually aren’t related?
  • Stress levels - How high is stress in your daily life? Have you recently experienced an especially stressful time in your life or a stressful event?
  • Track your sleep schedule - Is your sleep schedule consistent? Do you attempt to sleep and wake at the same time each day?
  • Keep a sleep journal - Logging your sleeping habits will help you see if your sleep problems are consistent or infrequent
  • Review your medical history - What other medical conditions do you have, mental and physical? Are they conditions that can affect your sleep?

A professional may want to do blood work or tests to rule out further medical conditions you might be unaware of. In general, insomnia is one of the easier sleep disorders to diagnose, due to its prominent and easily recognizable symptoms.

Treatment

While it’s not always possible to rid yourself of insomnia permanently, there are a lot of changes you can make to your lifestyle and sleep hygiene to get better sleep and wake up more refreshed. Here are some of the best measures you can take:

Try to create a sleep schedule and stick to it: If you can keep a consistent sleep schedule, you can gradually teach your body to keep the same sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep.

Limit Stimuli Before Bed

When you’re winding down for sleep, turn off the TV and dim the lights. When you’re on the phone, dim the screen and turn on night mode if possible. Aim to do something relaxing on your phone and not consuming stressful content.

Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoon

Consuming caffeine in the late afternoon and evening hours can disrupt your sleep cycle. Caffeine can sometimes stay in your system for up to seven hours. Limiting your caffeine intake to the morning hours may help you get better sleep.

Try and Exercise

Getting at least 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise each day can help give you a boost of energy during the day and prime your body for restfulness later. Just make sure you’re not exercising too close to bedtime, as this can give you excess energy when trying to wind down.

Create a Relaxing Sleep Routine

Creating a relaxing sleep routine you can look forward to can make getting ready for bed more enjoyable while also readying your mind for sleep. You can do something like have a calming caffeine-free tea, take a warm bath, and read a book.

Get Sun During the Day

Our sleep cycles are partially regulated by our circadian rhythm. Getting sun and natural light during the day can help attune your body to the waking and resting hours.

Try to Reduce Naps

Napping in the afternoon and later can disrupt your sleep schedule. If you do need to take a nap, try to limit it to under 15 minutes.

Avoid Eating and Drinking Before Bed

Snacking or consuming alcohol immediately before bed can disrupt your sleep and lower sleep quality.

Create a Better Sleep Environment

Make sure your bedroom invites restful sleep. This means making your sleeping environment as dark as possible and keeping the bedroom at a cool temperature. It also helps to invest in comfortable bedding and a quality mattress. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing insomnia. If you want guidance on how to develop better sleep hygiene and improve your sleep for the long-term, let Sleep Reset help.

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

Many people think the best way to treat insomnia is with pills or supplements. Sleep Reset makes it so you don’t have to resort to those methods. With Sleep Reset, you get a personalized treatment plan that is designed to address your specific sleep concerns. You’re also assigned a dedicated sleep coach who will help you stick to your plan, set goals for you, and adjust your plan as necessary. All without the pills and the side effects that come along with them.

If you want to reduce sleep anxiety and fall asleep in minutes, let Sleep Reset help you get there. Our program starts with a simple sleep quiz. Our quiz will quickly and comprehensively show us your sleep concerns and show us what we need to help you address your sleep problems at their source. When you’re ready to rid your life of sleepless nights, take our sleep quiz today!

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