A good night’s rest is always something to look forward to after a stressful day. And usually our body finds a way to make us “shut down “when we need to. But sometimes people find it difficult to sleep, stay asleep or go back to sleep after waking up too early no matter how hard they try. The medical term for this is insomnia (sleeplessness), a disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
Insomnia mostly affects adults and can be short term, last for days or weeks or even longer. Everyone finds it difficult to sleep at one point or the other. That doesn’t mean that you have insomnia. There are many causes of insomnia which include lifestyle, psychological factors, health conditions, hormonal factors and certain medications.
It’s likely you have insomnia if you REGULARLY exhibit the following symptoms;
- Difficulty sleeping
- Wake up early and cannot go back to sleep
- Lying awake through the night for no reason
- Worrying about sleep
- Difficulty in sleeping during the day when you feel tired
- Feeling tired even after sleeping
- Feeling irritable and depressed throughout the day
- Poor concentration and focus
- Severe headaches
What causes insomnia?
As earlier stated, insomnia can be caused by several factors;
Sometimes our way of living and social habits can interfere with our ability to fall asleep easily. Certain lifestyle that could cause insomnia includes;
- Poor sleep habit and hygiene
- Work related stress
- Poor feeding habit especially eating late at night
- Drug abuse
Sometimes the state of our mind makes it difficult to sleep. The following psychological conditions can cause insomnia.
- Anxiety disorder ( a disorder caused by excess anxiety)
- Bipolar disorder
- Trauma from life events
Health conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, heart problems, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and stroke can cause insomnia
Hormones associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can cause insomnia
Medications such as antidepressants, pain medications, stimulants, caffeine, ecstasy, cocaine and so on can cause insomnia.
Studies have also shown that exposure to light from electronic gadgets like television and phones can affect levels of melatonin and disrupt sleep patterns.
There are different treatment plans your doctor might adopt to make you sleep well at night. However, some home remedies can be used as well. See you next week as we talk about this.
Oyewole Ibukun is currently a Medical student of Olabisi Onabanjo University. She has a passion for seeking knowledge with a creative, detail oriented and analytical mindset.