Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
A deeper look into who causes the sleeping disorder insomnia that affects over 40% of Canadians, and how you can treat it.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects almost 40% of all Canadians. It is when a person finds it difficult to fall asleep, to stay asleep throughout the night, or waking up early and unable to get back to sleep.
This may result in feeling exhausted when you wake up, pouring over into your daily life and affecting your mood, health, and work performance. How much sleep a person requires a night varies from persons to person but it is recommended that most adults get seven to eight hours a night.
Sleep disorders affect Canadians in many ways. Short-term, or acute insomnia, is categorized as lasting only a few days or weeks. While long-term, or chronic insomnia, can last for a month or more. This can be brought on by many reasons, ranging from stress, traumatic events, and medical conditions or medications.
Symptoms of insomnia may include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it may be associated with other conditions.
It is usually the result of stress, life events or habits that disrupt sleep. Treating the underlying cause can resolve insomnia, but sometimes it can last for years.
Common causes include:
- Stress – Frequent concerns about life, work, school, health, more can keep your mind racing at night. Other stressful life events or trauma may also be a factor in insomnia.
- Frequent exposure to digital screens- Screen are often accompanied with stimulating activities before bed. Combined with the blue light emitted, it can interfere with your sleep cycle before bed.
- Overeating at night – Eating too much may cause physical discomfort while lying down trying to sleep. Such issues as heartburn may keep you awake.
- Mental health disorders – Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, may disrupt your sleep. Awakening too early can be a sign of depression. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.
- Medications – Prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, whether they are over-the-counter medications or prescribed.
- Medical conditions – Some conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sleep-related disorders- Sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, is a big reason for your sleep being interrupted. Restless legs syndrome, where you feel the need to constantly move your legs due to unpleasant sensations may prevent you from falling asleep as well.
- Overconsumption of Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.
These are only a few of the causes that can bring on insomnia in people. Always check with your doctor to see what could be affecting your sleep.
There are many options available to help treat insomnia. Both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical. Always talk to your doctor to find what treatment may be best for you.
For many people suffering from insomnia, non-pharmaceutical options are their last choice, once the lingering side effects of medications have taken their toll.
At Panda Clinic we offer many options for you to fight your insomnia. If you are new to acupuncture, are uncertain if it’s the right treatment, or have a fear of needles, we offer our Advanced Acupressure Massage.
This combination service includes acupuncture, acupressure, and cupping therapy over a 60-minute session to give you an introduction to acupuncture, and full-body relaxation.