Older lady lying awake in bed, looking at her clock

A leader in managing and treating the patient’s Sleep Apnea

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia is a persistent condition that makes it hard for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. There are many potential causes for insomnia, which can include medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, lifestyle habits, and eating habits.

There is a range of medical conditions that may contribute to insomnia, such as arthritis, chronic pain, endocrine problems, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, lower back pain, and/or neurological conditions. In addition to medical causes, a person’s ability to sleep may also be influenced by psychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety. Your lifestyle habits may also impact your susceptibility for insomnia. Scientists have identified several risk factors, such as taking afternoon naps, using electronic devices shortly before bed, having an erratic sleep schedule, and also being a shift worker.

Certain foods and beverages can also cause insomnia. These may include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and eating heavy meals shortly before bed.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

The symptoms you experience with your insomnia may vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms most people with insomnia report include:

  • Anticipating a problem with sleep several nights a week
  • Awakening during the middle of the night
  • Feeling tired and sleepy during the day
  • Having trouble concentrating or paying attention
  • Awakening to early
  • Having tension headaches
  • Feeling gastrointestinal distress
  • Feeling irritable, depressed, or anxious
  • Feeling fatigued even after sleeping all night
  • Making more errors or causing accidents

If your sleep problems make it hard for you to function at your best during the day, it is important to contact the professionals at the California Center for Sleep Disorders as soon as possible.

How can I improve my sleep quality?

There are many effective treatments to reduce insomnia. Your doctor will work with you to determine which option(s) is right for you. Many patients with insomnia find that by practicing regular sleep hygiene they experience better quality and quantity sleep at night. Sleep hygiene involves making the sleep environment most comfortable, creating an unwinding period each night, going to sleep and rising at the same times each night/day, and being mindful of meals and alcohol/caffeine use.

Other potential treatment options for insomnia include behavioral therapy and medication as a last resort.