Insomnia can be triggered by a number of possible factors, including worry and stress, underlying health conditions, and alcohol or drug use.
Worrying about not getting enough sleep can itself cause anxiety, but did you know there is a growing body of evidence from both science and history which suggests the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural?
Learn more about the myth of the eight-hour sleep in this BBC article.
➡️ Stress and anxiety
Some people develop insomnia after a stressful event, such as a bereavement, problems at work, or financial difficulties.
The problem can continue long after the event has passed because you start to associate going to bed with being awake. This can develop into an anxiety about sleep itself.
Having more general worries – for example about social situations, your family or health – are also likely to keep you awake at night.
Chronic stress can impact on our general health so, if anxiety and stress are ongoing, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
And don’t forget that hypnotherapy and BWRT can really help to reduce stress and worries.
➡️ A poor sleep routine and sleeping environment
You may struggle to get a good night’s sleep if you go to bed at inconsistent times, nap during the day, or don’t ‘wind down’ before going to bed.
And a poor sleeping environment can also contribute to insomnia – for instance, an uncomfortable bed, or a bedroom that’s too bright, noisy, hot or cold.
It’s also important not to disrupt the release of melatonin with laptops, phones and tablets (and any other devices with blue light-emitting diodes) so avoid them before bed, too.
Get more help and advice in these 7 Top Tips to Aid Healthy Sleep
➡️ Lifestyle factors
Drinking alcohol before going to bed, and taking certain recreational drugs can affect your sleep, as can stimulants such as nicotine (found in cigarettes) and caffeine (found in tea, coffee and energy drinks). These should be avoided in the evenings.
Changes to your sleeping patterns can also contribute to insomnia, for example because of shiftwork or changing time zone after a long-haul flight (jet lag).
➡️ Mental health conditions
Underlying mental health problems can often affect a person’s sleeping patterns, including:
– mood disorders –such as depression or bipolar disorder
– anxiety disorders –such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
– psychotic disorders –such as schizophrenia
➡️ Physical health conditions
Insomnia can also be caused by underlying physical conditions, including
– heart conditions – such as angina or heart failure
– respiratory conditions –such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma
– neurological conditions –such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
– hormonal problems – such as an overactive thyroid
– joint or muscle problems – such as arthritis
– problems with the genital or urinary organs –such as urinary incontinence or an enlarged prostate
– sleep disorders – such as such as snoring, sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, night terrors and sleepwalking
– long-term pain
Some prescriptions or over-the-counter medications can cause insomnia as a side effect. These include:
– certain antidepressants
– epilepsy medicines
– medicines for high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers
– steroid medication
– non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
– some medicines used to treat asthma, such as salbutamol, salmeterol and theophylline
Check the leaflet that comes with any medication you’re taking to see if insomnia or sleeping difficulties are listed as a possible side effect.
For medical advice visit: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia
Help for insomnia
It’s always important to talk to your doctor if your regular sleep pattern has become disrupted.
Once any underlying cause has been discounted, therapies like hypnotherapy and BWRT can be very effective at reducing related stress and anxiety, helping to dissolve your symptoms and restore restful sleep.
Take the first step to good sleep and book your free consultation, today.