As sleeping disorder insomnia is common among many people. In fact, a recent New Zealand study found 45% of participants reported experiencing insomnia symptoms at least once per week.
Resulting in poor quality and lack of sleep, Insomnia can affect your work and daily life, impacting your ability to perform everyday tasks.
There are two types of insomnia – acute and chronic. It’s fairly common for people to experience acute insomnia, which lasts a few days or weeks. This can develop into chronic insomnia when it carries on for months or more.
The causes of insomnia can range from medical issues, to mental health problems, to daily lifestyle habits. Read on to learn some of the common causes of insomnia.
1. Breathing or sinus issues
Ear, nose or throat issues are some of the most common causes of insomnia. Sinus infections and allergies can make breathing at night particularly difficult, says Dr Samer Fahhri, associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. “Anything thing that causes you to breathe through your mouth prevents your nose from warming, filtering and moistening the air you breath and can result in a high level of sleep disturbance,” he says.
Insomnia or difficulty sleeping can be a side effect of some medication taken for nasal allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease and asthma. If you are taking medications and struggle with sleep, it’s always best to talk to your doctor.
3. Sleep disorders
In some cases, insomnia may be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder. Restless legs syndrome is a common neurological condition where a person feels an uncomfortable sensation of needing to move their legs. This can disrupt sleep and lead to insomnia. Sleep apnea is another common sleep disorder which is caused by either a blockage of the airways or the brain’s failure to signal the muscles to breathe.
Studies have shown that exposure to blue light from devices such as smartphones can increase sleep deprivation. Researchers from The University of California found “longer average screen-time was associated with shorter sleep duration and worse sleep-efficiency.” We normally experience blue light from UV rays as a natural part of our sleep pattern. When we are exposed to blue light at night from our phones or devices this disrupts our natural body clock.
Feelings of worry or nervousness are common causes for sleeping troubles. Worry about the future, dwelling on the past, and feelings of being overwhelmed can all contribute to sleep issues and insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that this pattern can interfere with sleep on a regular basis. “Anxiety and insomnia can feed each other and become a cycle that should be interrupted through treatment,” says the NSF.
6. Lifestyle habits
Often the underlying causes for insomnia can be found in our everyday habits. Working late in the evenings can make it difficult to unwind and relax before bed. Afternoon naps or morning sleep-ins can also disrupt your body clock, making it difficult to maintain regular sleep patterns.