What Causes insomnia?

by Selina Luo
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What Causes insomnia?

Most people often have difficulty sleeping, which is usually related to stress or pain. Many of these bouts get better without treatment. Unfortunately, in a large proportion of the population, sleep problems become insomnia, which is defined as long-term inability to fall asleep or to enjoy uninterrupted sleep.


Common causes of insomnia include:


Stress and anxiety


Some people develop insomnia after a stressful event, such as a bereavement, problems at work, or financial difficulties.


The problem can continue long after the event has passed because they start to associate going to bed with being awake. This develops into an anxiety about sleep itself.


Having more general worries – for example, about work, family or health – are also likely to keep you awake at night.


These can cause your mind to start racing while you lie in bed, which can be made worse by also worrying about not being able to sleep.




Medical Causes of Insomnia


There are many medical conditions (some mild and others more serious) that can lead to insomnia. In some cases, a medical condition itself causes insomnia, while in other cases, symptoms of the condition cause discomfort that can make it difficult for a person to sleep.


Examples of medical conditions that can cause insomnia are:


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.



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.




Most adults have had some trouble sleeping because they feel worried or nervous, but for some it's a pattern that interferes with sleep on a regular basis. Anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia include:


Getting caught up in thoughts about past events

Excessive worrying about future events

Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities

A general feeling of being revved up or overstimulated

It's not hard to see why these symptoms of general anxiety can make it difficult to sleep. Anxiety may be associated with onset insomnia (trouble falling asleep), or maintenance insomnia (waking up during the night and not being able to return to sleep). In either case, the quiet and inactivity of night often brings on stressful thoughts or even fears that keep a person awake.


When this happens for many nights (or many months), you might start to feel anxiousness, dread, or panic at just the prospect of not sleeping. This is how anxiety and insomnia can feed each other and become a cycle that should be interrupted through treatment. There are cognitive and mind-body techniques that help people with anxiety settle into sleep, and overall healthy sleep practices that can improve sleep for many people with anxiety and insomnia.



Travel or work schedule

Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body's circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.



Environmental factors


The environment where you sleep can cause insomnia. Disruptive factors such as noise, light or extreme temperatures can interfere with sleep. Sleeping with a bed partner who snores also can cause sleep disruption. Extended exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals may prevent you from being able to fall asleep or stay asleep.



Lifestyle factors

Drinking alcohol before going to bed and taking certain recreational drugs can affect your sleep, as can stimulants such as nicotine (found in cigarettes) and caffeine (found in tea, coffee and energy drinks). These should be avoided in the evenings.


Changes to your sleeping patterns can also contribute to insomnia – for example, because of shift work or changing time zones after a long-haul flight (jet lag).



Eating too much late in the evening

Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.




Moxibustion at Yongquan Point can cure neurasthenia, insomnia, polysomnia, etc. Yongquan acupoint is located on the sole of human foot. The first third part of the line between the head of the second and third toe suture and the heel is in the depression of the forefoot. It is the lowest part of acupoint in the whole body.


Smart moxibustion device, ijoou, enable you do moxibustion anytime and anywhere. Ijoou produces no pungent odor and saves treatment costs.

by Selina Luo


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