What causes and what to do for Insomnia?

​Insomnia is an incredibly common problem affecting millions of people in the US alone. An estimated 1-in-3 people suffer from at least mild insomnia. Put simply, insomnia is an inability to fall asleep at night. What sleep that you might have is usually unrefreshing and restless. Quality of sleep matters as much as quantity, so even those who sleep for eight hours a night may have insomnia if they still feel tired and fatigued throughout the day.

What Causes Insomnia
As widespread as it is, there is a diverse range of risk factors that can lead to insomnia. Many of these causes are psychological. For instance, anxiety, stress and depression can all lead to having trouble sleeping at night. Mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder also play a factor in insomnia.

Your health, in general, can impact your ability to maintain a good quality and quantity of sleep. Some common medical conditions and illnesses known to contribute to insomnia include asthma, allergies, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, and chronic pain. However, the prescription drugs used to treat medical conditions may also impact your sleep. Antidepressants, stimulants, high blood pressure medications, and corticosteroids are just some examples. Even over-the-counter medications, such as painkillers, contain caffeine, which can impact your sleep.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in itself but can be related to other issues related to sleep. Habits that lead to staying up late at night or having an unpredictable sleeping schedule can eventually develop into insomnia. Sugary foods and heavy meals shortly before bedtime can lead to problems sleeping, too. Furthermore, other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are frequently associated with insomnia.

The Treatment of Insomnia
Since the causes of insomnia can be so varied, it’s only expected that healthcare practitioners employ just as wide a range of techniques and approaches to help combat it. Here are a few examples of different treatments for insomnia:

  • Creating a better sleeping environment by keeping the bedroom as dark, quiet, and cool as possible, since noise, light and excessive heat can all disrupt sleep. This might include using different mattresses and pillows and wearing eye masks to block out light.
  • Addressing your sleeping schedule, ensuring that you have a consistent time to sleep at night as best as possible, that you don’t eat or have too much screen time close to bed.
  • Treating anxiety and stress through therapy or counseling so that they are less likely to keep you up at night.
  • Prescribing dietary supplements, such as melatonin and valerian which can help you sleep better, or sleeping pills to complement other lifestyle changes.

Finding Treatment for your Insomnia
Insomnia is not only an unpleasant problem to live with in its own right, it also has a wide range of health implications that must be addressed for the good of your safety. If you believe that you suffer from insomnia, get in touch with High Desert Psychiatry today. With a holistic approach, we can offer the treatments you need to find some relief at night. View our Psychiatric Services here.