• 7 Factors That Could Be Contributing to Your Insomnia

    on Aug 24th, 2018

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have trouble sleeping, you can count herds of sheep each night, but they’re probably not going to cure your insomnia. Think about it: If your brain is already having difficulty shutting down for the day, aren’t you just adding to the problem by telling it to keep track of a bunch of sheep, too?

The compassionate medical team at Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice, serving people of all ages in the Portland, Oregon area, explores seven common factors that could be contributing to your insomnia, plus some effective remedies so you and the sheep can finally get some rest.

2:22 am — and you’re still wide awake

Do you regularly see the clock during the wee hours of the morning when the rest of your family is slumbering peacefully? For some men and women, bouts of insomnia occur every now and then when you have a lot on your mind or your normal sleep schedule is interrupted for one reason or another. But, when you can frequently recall being awake at 4:18 am, then struggle to get out of bed when the alarm goes off at 6 am, it may be time to investigate potential causes of your sleepless nights.

1. It could be a medical condition or medication

Whether it’s a medical condition itself or the unpleasant symptoms that are keeping you up at night, health issues like sinus allergies or acid reflux may be making it hard to sleep fitfully. Or, if you have a musculoskeletal condition like chronic low back pain or arthritis that makes it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position, that may contribute to frequent sleep disruption, too. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are other health disorders that are linked to insomnia.

Additionally, certain medications, particularly the ones you take to relieve cold and allergy symptoms, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease, may lead to insomnia. If you have chronic health conditions, it’s a good idea to review them with your doctor and discuss your sleep issues so you can find a better long-term solution.

2. Too much stress!

One of the most common causes of insomnia is the daily stress from your job and finances or, concerns about your health and family. Life’s stressful events, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, can also keep you awake at night, unable to manage so many emotional changes at once.

3. Late-night eating and drinking habits

If you regularly eat a big meal late in the evening, you may experience heartburn or acid reflux regularly, which can make it difficult to sleep comfortably. Also, if you consume caffeine or alcohol late at night, both can make it hard to fall asleep and prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Alcohol, especially, makes it challenging for you to enter deeper sleep stages and can lead to frequent waking throughout the night.

4. Depression, anxiety, and mental disorders

Everyone feels sad and overwhelmed at times, but if you suffer from chronic depression, you probably suffer from insomnia, too. It’s a vicious cycle: Depression and anxiety contribute to insomnia, and lack of sleep exacerbates symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s important to get help for psychological problems so you can get the much-needed rest that’s so essential to your overall mental and emotional well-being.

5. You’re getting older

Along with wrinkles, gray hair, and stiff joints, yet another wonderful benefit of the aging process could be insomnia. Women are especially affected during menopause as hormonal changes can cause hot flashes and night sweats, making it difficult to sleep without disruption. For both men and women, being over 60 years old also increases your chances of chronic insomnia.

6. Work schedules and travel

Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock that guides your awake and sleep cycles. When you work the night shift or travel across time zones, your body’s natural sleep patterns get all out of whack. You may feel tired in the middle of the day and wide awake at night as a result.

7. Your bedroom isn’t calm, dark, and comfortable

It seems obvious, but if you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too hard or too soft, or a pillow that doesn’t provide adequate neck support, sleeping isn’t a pleasure. Additionally, if you sleep with the lights or TV on all night, your brain never truly gets a chance to shut down. Create a quiet bedroom atmosphere that invites you to leave all your cares (and electronics) behind so you can enjoy 7-8 hours of restorative slumber.

Since insomnia can affect every aspect of your life — from your physical safety to professional life and personal relationships — the medical team at Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice takes an integrative, multidisciplinary approach toward sleep disorders. They treat the underlying causes of your insomnia, while providing cognitive behavior therapies and relaxation techniques, and recommending lifestyle changes that help you sleep better at night.

With the right techniques and a willingness to make some changes, insomnia is curable. Call one of our Portland area offices or request an appointment online so you can get some rest.

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