Causes of Insomnia

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What is insomnia?
The most common sleep problem, insomnia is defined as inability falling or staying asleep. Once it lasts more than 6 months, it is regarded as a chronic disorder and needs evaluation. It is a common problem that affects almost one third of people all over the world at least once in lifetime. It is more common in women and those of a higher socioeconomic class living in urban areas. Difficulty initiating sleep is more common in young adults whereas problems with maintaining sleep are more frequently seen in the elderly.

Three main Causes of insomnia:
While insomnia is sometimes primary i.e. without any known cause and independent of short-term other health problems, it is more commonly associated with 3 major categories:

1) Environmental factors (usually causing short-term insomnia)
2) Medical factors (causing both short-term and long term insomnia)
3) Psychiatric factors (causing mostly long-term insomnia)

Environmental factors include:
• Jet lag
• Too much noise or light and abnormal temperature
• Life stress such as divorce, loss of a loved one, and joblessness
• Financial worries
• Overwork
• Resentment
• Anger
• Hunger
• Overeating at night especially spicy food
• Overdrinking coffee and/or tea
• Watching horror movies or violent pictures
• Working out vigorously before bedtime
• Excessive smoking or alcohol
• Drug or alcohol withdrawal
• Snoring of bed partner

Medical factors include:
• Menstruation
• Menopause
• Pregnancy
• Aging
• Reflux (heart burn)
• Pain
• Heart failure
• Arthritis
• Chronic obstructive lung disease
• Asthma
• Alzheimer
• Parkinson
• Brain tumor or trauma
• Stroke

Psychiatric factors include:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Schizophrenia
• Some other mental illnesses

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