What Causes Insomnia?
Recently, researchers have begun to consider insomnia as a sleep cycle issue, where the brain is unable to shut down the awake cycle, and are searching for potential causes. While finding a solution to your insomnia is imperative to overall health, we believe finding the underlying cause is just as important.
Medical Causes of Insomnia
Adults with less than 7 hours of sleep per 24 hour period are more likely to suffer chronic health conditions, as well as an exacerbation of existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular events, asthma, cancer, arthritis, depression, kidney disease, and diabetes. There are many medical conditions; mild to severe, that can lead to insomnia. In some cases, a medical condition itself causes insomnia, while in others, symptoms of the condition cause discomfort, making it difficult to get to sleep and stay sleep.
Examples of medical conditions that can cause insomnia are:
• Neurotransmitter Imbalance
• Immune system Imbalance
• Nasal/sinus allergies
• Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
• Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
• Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
• Chronic pain
• Low back pain
Medications such as those taken for the common cold and nasal allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, birth control, asthma, and depression can also cause insomnia.
In addition, insomnia may be a symptom of underlying sleep disorders. For example, restless legs syndrome—a neurological condition in which a person has an uncomfortable sensation of needing to move his or her legs—can lead to insomnia. Patients with restless legs syndrome typically experience worse symptoms in the later part of the day, during periods of inactivity, and in the transition from wake to sleep, which means that falling asleep and staying asleep can be difficult. An estimated 10 percent of the population has restless legs syndrome.