Identify the Cause of Your Insomnia

While almost everyone has trouble sleeping occasionally, chronic insomnia can become a big problem. There are many possible causes of insomnia, including:

  • Anxiety: Whether you have temporary anxiety or an anxiety disorder, it can seriously disrupt sleep. “Sometimes, simply worrying about whether you will fall asleep can make it difficult to sleep,” says W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM, pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Saint Francis Medical Center.
  • Hormonal shifts: Women are particularly at risk for insomnia because of the hormonal shifts they experience during their menstrual cycle and menopause.
  • Depression: Insomnia is a common symptom of depression. “In particular, people with depression may awaken early in the morning,” says Graham.
  • Stress: Stressful situations at work, family turmoil, the death of a loved one or the loss of a job can keep your mind active at night.
  • Medications: Some medications may make it difficult to fall asleep. In particular, medications for depression, allergies, heart, blood pressure and attention deficit disorder (ADD) can cause insomnia.
  • Medical conditions: People with conditions such as arthritis, heart failure, cancer, lung disease, overactive thyroid and Alzheimer’s disease are at risk for battling insomnia.
  • Aging: Sometimes, the simple process of aging can be enough to cause problems with sleep. As you become older, your internal clock shifts, causing you to fall asleep earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning.

It is important to treat not only the insomnia, but also the underlying issues. “Some people think the solution is to take a sleeping pill,” says Graham. “But that is only a temporary solution. You should work with your doctor to discover what might be causing your insomnia. Then determine whether you need medication, therapy, a relaxation routine or a combination of all three to help you obtain the sleep you need.”

For more information, call 573-331-3996.

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