What causes insomnia?
About half of all insomnia cases are caused by psychological or emotional problems. Acute stress, depression, anxiety and other behavior-related problems are common psychological causes. Certain conditions seem to make individuals more likely to experience insomnia. Examples of these conditions include: advanced age (insomnia occurs more
frequently in those over age 60); female gender; and a history of depression. If other conditions (such as stress, anxiety, a medical problem, or the use of certain medications) occur along with the above conditions, insomnia is more likely.
Underlying medical conditions such as sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism can also cause insomnia, as can pain and discomfort caused by arthritis or congestive heart failure. The use of caffeine or other stimulants, alcohol or other depressants, sedatives, poor sleep habits or a change in sleep patterns, and eating or working before sleeping can all cause sleep problems. Rarely, periodic jerky leg movements (nocturnal myoclonus), which happen just as the individual is falling asleep can cause insomnia.
There are many causes of insomnia. Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following: stress, environmental noise, extreme temperatures, a change in the surrounding environment, sleep/wake schedule problems such as those due to jet lag, or medication side effects.
Chronic insomnia is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, including underlying physical or mental disorders. One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, Parkinson disease, and hyperthyroidism. However, chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioral factors, including the misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances; disrupted sleep/wake cycles as may occur with shift work or other nighttime activity schedules; and chronic stress.
In general, the numerous causes of insomnia that can generally be broken down into three categories: insomnia due to another sleep disorder, insomnia due primarily to physical medical disorder, and insomnia due primarily to temporary events or factors
In many people, psychological causes of insomnia include anxiety, stress, depression, in addition, a lack of a good night's sleep can lead to these very same psychological problems, and a vicious cycle can develop. Professional counseling from a doctor, therapist, or sleep specialist can help individuals cope with these conditions.
The physical causes of insomnia include hormonal changes in women, decreased melatonin, medical conditions (allergies, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and Parkinson's disease.), pain and discomfort from a medical illness or injury often interfere with sleep, genetics, and other sleep disorders.
Short-term insomnia can be linked to events and factors that are often temporary, such as adjustment sleep disorder, jet lag, working the night shift or long shifts, medications, overuse of caffeine and alcohol, environmental noise, extreme temperatures, or a change in a person's surrounding environment.