Some cases of insomnia start out with an acute episode but turn into a longer-term problem. For example, let's say a person can't sleep for a night or two after receiving bad news. In this case, if the person starts to adopt unhealthy sleep habits such as getting up in the middle of the night to work, or drinking alcohol before bed to compensate, the insomnia can continue and potentially turn into a more serious problem. Instead of passing, it can become chronic. Once this happens, worry and thoughts such as, "I'll never sleep," become associated with bedtime, and every time the person can't sleep, it reinforces the pattern.
This is why it's important to address insomnia instead of letting it become the norm. If lifestyle and unhealthy sleep habits are the cause of insomnia, there are cognitive behavioral techniques and sleep hygiene tips that can help. If you have tried to change your sleep behaviors and it hasn't worked, it's important to take this seriously and talk to your doctor. Certain substances and activities, including eating patterns, can contribute to insomnia.
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If you can't sleep, review the following lifestyle factors to see if one or more could be affecting you:. Alcohol is a sedative. It can make you fall asleep initially, but may disrupt your sleep later in the night. Caffeine is a stimulant. Most people understand the alerting power of caffeine and use it in the morning to help them start the day and feel productive.
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Caffeine in moderation is fine for most people, but excessive caffeine can cause insomnia. Caffeine can stay in your system for as long as eight hours, so the effects are long lasting. If you have insomnia, do not consume food or drinks with caffeine too close to bedtime. Nicotine is also a stimulant and can cause insomnia. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep and to sleep well through the night.
Smoking is damaging to your health. If you smoke, you should stop.
Heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. The best practice is to eat lightly before bedtime. When you eat too much in the evening, it can cause discomfort and make it hard for your body to settle and relax. Spicy foods can also cause heartburn and interfere with your sleep. In some cases, insomnia may be caused by certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are known to be involved with sleep and wakefulness. There are many possible chemical interactions in the brain that could interfere with sleep and may explain why some people are biologically prone to insomnia and seem to struggle with sleep for many years without any identifiable cause—even when they follow healthy sleep advice.
What Causes Insomnia? Overview What is Insomnia?
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What are Different Types of Insomnia? Home Insomnia What Causes Insomnia? Medical Causes of Insomnia There are many medical conditions some mild and others more serious that can lead to insomnia. Anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia include: Tension Getting caught up in thoughts about past events Excessive worrying about future events Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities A general feeling of being revved up or overstimulated It's not hard to see why these symptoms of general anxiety can make it difficult to sleep.
Examples of how specific lifestyles and sleep habits can lead to insomnia are: You work at home in the evenings. This can make it hard to unwind, and it can also make you feel preoccupied when it comes time to sleep. The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert. You take naps even if they are short in the afternoon. Short naps can be helpful for some people, but for others they make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
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You sometimes sleep in later to make up for lost sleep. This can confuse your body's clock and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night. You are a shift worker meaning that you work irregular hours. Non-traditional hours can confuse your body's clock, especially if you are trying to sleep during the day, or if your schedule changes periodically.
If you can't sleep, review the following lifestyle factors to see if one or more could be affecting you: Alcohol is a sedative. Insomnia Landing Page. Related Articles. Insomnia is Treatable. You don't have to struggle with sleepless nights. Help is available!
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