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Insomnia Causes

Predisposing and Precipitating Factors

What causes insomnia? 
There are so many possible factors contributing to insomnia that a lot of people are affected by it sooner or later in their life.  The fact that several of these factors  
may exist at the same time makes it harder to diagnose.

The cause of insomnia may be as simple as food we had for dinner or travel related 
jet lag, or it may be a result of underlying disease or reaction to some prescription 
and non-prescription medications.

Circadian rhythm interruption, where neurohormone and neurotransmitter changes 
are responsible for the sleep-wake cycle (shift workers), or hormonal and metabolic changes especially in women (pregnancy, menopause) are also thought to play 
a considerable role.

The comprehensive list of insomnia causes

Medical or psychological disorders: Environmental factors:
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bipolar disorders
  • schizophrenia
  • pain
  • multiple sclerosis
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • breathing problems
  • digestive problems
  • sleep disorders - sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome
  • decreased level of melatonin-sleep regulating hormone
  • changes in hormones levels (pregnancy, menopause)
  • extreme temperatures
  • humidity
  • noise
  • light
  • uncomfortable bedding
  • some sort of physical discomfort
  • unpredictable traumatic events
Lifestyle factors: Prescription and OTC Medications:
  • work schedule
  • travel (jet lag)
  • use of alcohol and caffeine
  • lack of exercise
  • eating heavy or spicy meals before bedtime
  • heavy smoking
  • napping
  • stimulants
  • some antidepressants
  • thyroid supplements
  • decongestants
  • some herbal supplements like ginseng

In cases when it is hard to pinpoint the real insomnia causes it may be helpful to keep a diary, where you would write down the time of going to bed and getting up, how many times you wake up during the night, if you nap during the day, and if so, when, and all other activities done around sleep time, meal times and so on. 


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