Common Causes of Insomnia

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Information on Common Causes of Insomnia

Most cases of insomnia can be traced to one of the several common problems, including irregular sleep schedules such as irregular bedtimes, irregular arising times, night work; overuse of caffeine, diet pills or other stimulants; various disease conditions for instance: endocrine gland disorders and neurological disorder; or chronic abuse of drugs affecting the nervous system, especially tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and can be side effects of anti-arrhythmia drugs, anti-hypertensive medication, steroids, hormonal preparations, asthma medications and alcohol.  Other "culprits" are daytime naps (especially by unemployed or older people) and a completely sedentary daytime routine.


There are some people who are constantly more alert than others.  They tend to be sensitive individuals, often perfectionists who ruminate about details long after the event.  Some of them take a long time to "wind down" each night.  They often take a while to fall asleep, but usually sleep soundly once they do.  They manifest particular electrical properties of the nervous system, and their condition is known as "hyperarousal".


A sudden crisis, for instance a financial reversal, divorce, court case and so on can obviously interfere with sleep.  Such "insomnia" should disappear when the crisis is over.  More commonly, chronic depression underlies disordered sleep, especially when early morning awakening occurs.  Often these depressions are unrecognized because the patient does not feel "sad".  But early morning awakening combined with the inability to enjoy customary pleasures, the appearance of irrational fears, or even temperamental outbursts may indeed signify depression.  The types of depression associated with insomnia are often readily relieved once the depression is recognized and treated.


Finally, one should always think of physical problems such as pain, itching, fever, breathlessness; underlying diseases such as thyroid, kidney, heart; and medications, hormonal preparations or drugs for cardiac rhythm disturbances as possible causes of disordered sleep.  Many blame environmental discomforts for their chronic insomnia, but these rarely underlie insomnia, since most people can sleep well in a noisy city on a lumpy mattress.

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