“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…
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 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
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
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.
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.
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…