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Insomnia: Facts and Fixes

Help for Insomnia

“I may have a lot of problems, but I could always catch a good night’s sleep. Not anymore. Insomnia is destroying me! How much more am I supposed to take?!”

I can’t think of anything more – well – unfair than not being able to sleep. And when it’s all about mustering all the energy you can to cope with your mood and anxiety woes, insomnia can be a will-buster.

This two-part series may not provide the ultimate fix, but learning always leads to hope and potential. And who couldn’t use a checklist to ensure all the bases are covered?

Today we’re going to chat symptoms, causes, high-risk factors, and complications…

Symptoms

Well, this is pretty straight-forward. Insomnia’s primary symptoms are difficulty falling asleep, awakening during sleep – and too early.

And in short order, on come the secondary symptoms – not feeling well-rested upon awakening, awake-time fatigue/sleepiness, irritability, depression, anxiety, inattention, GI symptoms, and then some.

Causes

Causes can be all over the board, but let’s go with these…

  • Stress: chronic concerns and worries, specific events (past, present, future)
  • Anxiety and depression: “routine” life-stuff, specific events, and the disorders
  • Bipolarity: the mania spectrum (I just mentioned depression)
  • ADHD and other emotional/mental disorders
  • Medications: Prescription – antidepressants, cardio/blood pressure, allergy, stimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Adderall, etc.), corticosteroids (prednisone, hydrocortisone). OTCs – analgesic combos, decongestants, weight-loss products, antihistamines
  • Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, recreational drugs
  • Medical conditions: chronic pain, respiratory issues, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hyperthyroidism, stroke, Parkinson’s, and more
  • Travel, odd work/school schedules
  • Stimulating activities before bed (TV, computer, etc.)
  • “Learned insomnia” – excessive worry about not being able to sleep well, and trying too hard to fall asleep
  • Eating too much too late in the evening
  • The normal process of aging
  • Change in life routine/activity pattern
  • Change in health
  • Troubling conditions such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome

High-Risk Factors

According to statistics, insomnia is more likely a reality for you if you’re…

  • A woman (sorry for the hormonal inconvenience)
  • Over 60 years old
  • Enduring an emotional/mental health disorder
  • Continually under a lot of stress
  • Struggling financially or unemployed
  • A night worker or you work odd and changing shifts
  • Traveling across multiple time zones

Complications

As if insomnia alone isn’t enough to upset your life, here are some of its complications…

  • Lower performance on the job or at school
  • Slowed reaction time while driving, and higher risk of accidents
  • Emotional/mental problems
  • Poor immune system function
  • Increased risk of long term diseases – hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

The Wrap

One of the foundations of my work is connecting-the-dots. But in order to do that, all relevant information has to be on the table. And that’s why it’s important to have a comprehensive list like this one.

Maybe you’ve considered all of the above and are connecting-the-dots daily. But maybe not – and now you have something to help you get to work.

Be sure to come back tomorrow. We’ll pick-up right at the point where you’ve decided to do something about your insomnia – and chat options.

Be here!

Thanks to mayoclinic.com (as always) for the resource info.

To catch a listing of the almost 75 chipur articles on the biology of the mood and anxiety disorders, just click here