Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, means that you have difficulty falling and staying asleep at least three times a week for three months or more. It can also be triggered by things like endless stress, difficult emotions that you haven’t processed, or constant travel that throws your schedule off balance. However, this type of insomnia can also be a side effect of a deeper problem, such as an underlying health condition, medication plan, or substance use.
What Causes Insomnia?
Let’s dig deeper into the most common reasons you might not sleep:
1. You are afraid to fall asleep.
“In a way, insomnia is like an anxiety disorder of not getting enough sleep,” said Jason Ong, Ph.D., director of behavioral sleep medicine at SleepCharge by Nox Health and adjunct professor of sleep medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. says YOURSELF. “The fear of sleep and attempts to induce sleep perpetuate the problem by inadvertently disrupting your body’s sleep regulation.”
A common response is to try to fix the problem by making more effort to fall asleep. Movements like hopping in bed when you think you should be (but aren’t) sleepy just increase the pressure. In return, you tend to feel more restless and alert.
2. You have an unusual sleep schedule.
For example, if you’re a jet setter traveling across time zones to work or a shift worker trying to sleep during the day, you may experience insomnia. The root of the problem is known as circadian misalignment, or trying to sleep at times that are inconsistent with your internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, says Dr. Ong.
3. You are stressed to the max.
An overwhelming work schedule, looming debt, care, the loss of a loved one – loads of stressful life events can trigger insomnia. That’s because chronic stress affects your fight-or-flight response, Ash Nadkarni, MD, an associate psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told SELF. This sends a flood of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. If your stress persists and that “on” switch sticks, these hormones keep rushing through your body at night to keep you awake and block your ability to relax and fall asleep relaxed.
4. You have a mental illness.
Insomnia is a symptom of many psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Although the link is complicated and more research is needed, researchers believe the link may be due to changes such as an increased stress response, problems with neurotransmitters or chemical messengers such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and related problems with the internal clock and sleep cycle is, says Dr. Nadkarni.
5. Or you have a different underlying health condition.
This brings us back to that “canary in the coal mine” comment: Insomnia can be due to numerous health problems, including other sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy or sleep apnea, chronic pain due to diseases like arthritis or headache, cancer, stomach – Colon disorders like heartburn or GERD, hormone fluctuations during your period or due to thyroid disease, or even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
6. You are taking medication or medication that will keep you awake.
Insomnia can also be an undesirable side effect of certain medications or medications. Stimulants, for example, cause certain neurotransmitters to be released, which in turn can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, says Dr. Nadkarni. Others cause a change or decrease in the quality of sleep.