March 13, 2019
Everyone experiences some form of insomnia during their lifetime. Life’s ups and downs can play out when you’re sleeping. However, chronic insomnia is defined as insomnia that occurs at least 3 times per week for at least 3 months. Long-term insomnia can significantly affect your physical and mental health, as well as your ability to do normal everyday tasks like going to work and caring for your family. Knowing what causes this debilitating sleep disorder can steer you toward getting help from a sleep specialist who treats chronic sleep disorders.
We understand how difficult it can be to live with chronic insomnia. Here are 6 surprising causes of chronic insomnia.
1. Sleeping In
Sleeping in later than usual may seem like an ideal way to catch up on lost sleep. But sleeping in can actually throw off your body’s natural sleep rhythm — making it more difficult for you to fall asleep the next night. Maintain a regular sleep schedule even on your days off to help reduce problems with insomnia.
2. Eating Late at Night
Late-night eating can lead to disturbances like indigestion and frequent urination that keep you up throughout the night. Avoid eating large, heavy meals before bedtime, and stick to eating light snacks and foods that can actually help you sleep better. For instance, turkey and peanuts are ideal sources of an amino acid called tryptophan that can help promote a better night’s sleep.
3. Certain Medications
Insomnia has been linked to prescription medications used to treat asthma, heart disease, cancer, and depression, among many other medical conditions. If you’re experiencing sleep problems and use one or more medications, talk to your doctor about the possibility of switching to medications that won’t interfere with sleep.
Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially but can jolt you awake in the middle of the night when it’s metabolized by your body. Alcohol also interferes with deep REM sleep to prevent you from getting a quality night’s sleep. Cut back on your alcohol intake or limit your drinking to earlier in the day to prevent it from causing insomnia.
5. Medical Conditions
Chronic pain, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease are just some medical conditions that can interfere with your sleep patterns and keep you awake at night. Other conditions that can disturb sleep include asthma, menopause, and gastrointestinal problems. If you think a health problem is contributing to your chronic insomnia, a sleep doctor can work with you on identifying the root cause and refer you to the right medical specialist for treatment.
6. Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders
Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome are examples of common types of sleep disorders that may be causing chronic insomnia. If you’re at a loss in regards to what’s causing your chronic insomnia, make an appointment with a sleep specialist who can perform a sleep study and screen you for other sleep disorders.
At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we understand the health problems caused by sleep disorders and are devoted to helping you find the root cause of your chronic insomnia. One of our sleep doctors will work with you one on one to ensure you receive the highest quality personalized care and treatment. Schedule an appointment or call us today at (972) 258-7499.