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The 7 Most Common Causes of Insomnia

The 7 Most Common Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia refers to experiencing difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep, and it is a common problem that’s thought to affect approximately one in every three people in the UK. If you’re struggling to get the kip you need, the steps to overcoming the problem start by understanding the reasons behind your issue. So, to help you figure out why you might not getting enough shuteye, here are seven common causes of insomnia.

1. Your sleep setup isn’t up-to-scratch

You can’t expect to sleep well if your setup is all wrong, so if you’re suffering insomnia, you might want to start by assessing your bed. Aside from stopping you from enjoying a good night’s rest, an uncomfortable bed can be to blame for a whole host of other problems, such as poor posture and joint pain. Ideally, your bed should comprise a supportive mattress, plump pillows and soft sheets, so if your current setup isn’t quite up to these standards, you might want to think about making some changes. You may also find it useful to perfect the temperature of your bedroom by snoozing with a window open if you get warm during the night, or if you’re often chilly, you could invest in a heated blanket or dress your bed with an extra layer. Making changes like this to your sleep setup should help you banish your insomnia blues once and for all.

2. You’ve adopted unhealthy bedtime habits

You might not be aware of it, but your actions before you head to bed can have a huge impact on how well you rest. In fact, what you get up to before you slip in between the sheets could be to blame for your insomnia. For example, if you love to trawl the internet or scroll through Facebook before bed, you could be doing yourself more harm than good. Using electronics, such as your phone, laptop, tablet or even watching TV, can leaving you feeling more awake, preventing you from slipping off into a peaceful slumber. Having no set bedtime is another huge mistake you could be making. Ideally, you could have a dedicated time that you plan to sleep, taking time to fully unwind beforehand. Booting your bad habits to the curb could work wonders for your sleep levels.

3. You have an underlying medical condition

Insomnia can also be caused by a range of underlying medical conditions. For example, your inability to snooze could be a symptom of a much more serious problem, such as heart disease, an overactive thyroid or an enlarged prostate. It could also be triggered by joint or muscle problems, such as arthritis, or linked to a sleep disorder like snoring, sleep apnoea or narcolepsy. So, if you’re unsure as to why you’re struggling to get the kip you need each night, it’s important to get yourself checked out. By addressing a potential underlying problem, you’ll not only be saving your health, but may be able to overcome your sleep issues too.

4. You’re stressed out

Between having a job, caring for your family and generally have a life, it’s perfectly normal to experience small bouts of stress from time to time. However, if these feelings get out of control, you could find that you struggle to sleep well. Your soaring stress levels could start to interfere with the biological process that would normally help you fall asleep. As a result, you’re more likely to lie awake at night and you may start to worry about the fact you’re not getting the shuteye you need. Sometimes, these feelings of stress cannot simply be switched off, however there are a few self-help tips you could put into practice to get your sleeping pattern back in check. For example, you could try writing down your worries before you hit the hay to clear your mind. You might also find it useful to do something relaxing in the run up to bedtime, such as having a warm bubble bath or reading a book or magazine.

5. You’re taking prescription medicines

Did you know that taking certain prescription medicines could be to blame for your sleepless nights? Certain medications, such as antidepressants, epilepsy medicines and treatments for conditions such as thyroid disease, high blood pressure and asthma, can have side effects that may hinder your ability to get the rest you need. In fact, some over-the-counter medicines can have a similar impact too, such as treatments for the common cold and nasal allergies. To suss out if what you’re taking is impacting l on your sleeping pattern, it pays to read the information provided or speak to your doctor for further advice.

6. You consume too much caffeine

While you may rely on a mug of coffee or cup of tea to get you fired up of a morning, sipping on too many caffeinated drinks later on in the day can make falling asleep extremely difficult when bedtime rolls around. Once consumed, caffeine can have a stimulating effect after just 15 minutes, and it can remain in your system for up to six hours. To make sure you’re set up for a night of peaceful slumber, you might want to think about cutting back on your daily intake, or you could try swapping your usual beverage of choice for a caffeine-free alternative, such as water, fruit juice or herbal tea.

7. You eat too close to bedtime

The truth is, eating too close to bedtime can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, especially if you’re gorging on the wrong types of foods. For instance, foods such as potatoes, pork, cheese and chocolate contain tyramine – an amino acid that the brain converts into a stimulant, which will make you feel awake and alert. So, if you’re desperate for a snack before you snooze, try going for sleep-inducing treats instead, like bananas, oats, eggs and peanuts. What’s more, large, rich meals are likely to leave you feeling uncomfortably full, making it harder for you to rest properly. Instead, go for smaller portions in the evening to allow you to sleep better later on.