Sleep is very important for good health and a healthy mind. Both your mental and physical health depends on the amount of sleep you have daily. The mind of a sleep-deprived person can become anxious, irritative, lethargic, moody, cranky and depressed. Your focus, attention span, concentration, memory and the ability to remember things and thinking ability reduce if you suffer from insomnia for long. The risk of having an accident and self-injury will also increase many times for a sleep-deprived individual. Long-term insomnia is also linked to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Considering the lethal effects of insomnia, knowing its cause is important.
Some individuals brains remain highly active (hyperactive) or too alert – and therefore – they don’t sleep as usual. Insomnia in such individuals doesn’t seem to be due to physical, mental, and environmental causes. Scientists, doctors and researchers are working hard to find the reason – which is not yet clear. It could be due to a physical difference, altered levels of brain chemicals or may be due to genetic variations.
Persistent itching and a repeated urge to itching can hurt your sleep drastically. Some skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis can cause a burning sensation in the skin and itch very badly to the extent that you always think about scratching. No matter how much you try to distract yourself away from this situation, you repeatedly fail to do so. Somehow, if you manage to sleep, you wake up to itching and scratch hard – which will wake you up again. If you know your problem, you can control it, but if you don’t know the cause of your itching, then it is better to consult a skin specialist.
Parkinson’s is another condition that makes you wake up more often than others. Individuals suffering from this condition tend to sleep less. Parkinson’s disease affects nerve signalling pathways and brain activity – owing to which you are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea and breathing difficulties. Other mental issues like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression can also lead to sleep issues.
Middle-age women and women approaching menopause suffer from diminishing levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones in the body. Hormonal imbalances and variations in hormonal levels, along with the other changes in the body that typically occur in a woman’s body can make her prone to stress, mood swings, anxiety, stress and depression. These mental changes can affect her sleep. The most prominent symptom of all such changes include hot flashes due to the adrenaline rush. This leads to an increase in body temperature – and the condition becomes quite uncomfortable for the woman – as a result, she wakes up sweating profusely – sometimes even drenched in sweat. This may happen several times in a single night.
Women who suffer from insomnia should check their medicines as drugs prescribed to treat thyroid issues, high blood pressure, heart disease, allergies, anxiety and bipolar disorder and depression may cause insomnia. Medications for Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some over-the-counter medicines with pseudoephedrine – which are used as decongestants can also cause insomnia. Women suffering from these conditions, should talk to their doctors for changing the dosage of medicines if they feel that these medicines are affecting their sleep.
Several types of dementia can interfere with the memory and sleep. Individuals who are subjected to this can become restless and insomniac. This state is often termed as “sundowning” or sundown syndrome. Persons suffering from this condition may be aggressive, irritative, restless, anxious and confused – especially during bedtime. When they become restless, they just begin to move, pace up, rock or even wander off. Some individuals show mixed reactions with less severe symptoms and their condition gradually diminishes over a period of time, but sometimes the condition persist and keep them awake whole night.
You can fix this problem and bring your biological clock in rhythm by making a few lifestyle changes. To begin with, spend some time outdoors, early in the day during morning hours to get bright sunlight and work in bright light during the day. Next, do these activities a few hours before going to bed: keep your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, comfortable, soothing and safe; avoid drinking tea and coffee – especially during bedtime. Prior to entering your bedroom make your bed and keep it dark. Take a warm water shower, do some stretching activities, read a book and switch off all your gadgets before going to bed; avoid heavy and fatty foods as well.