What Causes Insomnia? 15 Common Causes of Insomnia
If you frequently struggle with falling asleep at night, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, close to 20% of Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. Not getting enough sleep can leave a person feeling tired, cranky and overall have a negative impact on mental health.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Individuals suffering from insomnia experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting back to sleep when they wake up at a very early hour. These sleep disturbances cause stress and anxiety, and make every day activities like working, remembering, and thinking clearly very challenging. Insomnia also typically causes irritability and fatigue. Persistent insomnia may also be a contributing factor of depression.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia is a complex condition that is still being studied. So far we do know that there are certain conditions that make people more prone to insomnia:
– Age – people over 60 are more susceptible
– Gender – females, on average, are more susceptible
– A history of depression can make you more susceptible
The main culprits of insomnia are:
– Jet lag
– Shift work
– Stimulants like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol taken too soon before bed
– An overactive thyroid
– Steroid use
– Certain prescription medications (if you’re currently taking any, speak with your doctor about insomnia side effects)
– Restless leg syndrome
– Menopause and hot flashes
– Gastrointestinal conditions such as heartburn
– Conditions that make it hard to breathe like asthma and sleep apnea
– Chronic pain
Counseling for Insomnia
Did you realize that counseling can help with insomnia? Mental health concerns and insomnia can turn into a “chicken and the egg” type situation where it’s hard tell which causes the other.
As I mentioned, depression is one of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. When depression is the culprit, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help. CBT targets the thoughts and actions that are disrupting your sleep night after night. This therapeutic strategy encourages good sleep habits while relieving anxiety.
A mental health therapist can also work with you on relaxation techniques that will both help you calm and prepare your body for sleep as well as meditation techniques that can help you let go of thoughts. When you let go of your thought and calm the mind, it can be easier to fall asleep. We also have sleep protocols we can walk through to help improve your sleep.
Therapists recognize that each client is an individual with individual needs. One-on-one talking therapy will help a therapist determine the specific causes – in some cases there may be multiple culprits – and put together a comprehensive strategy for relief.
If you are suffering from insomnia and would like to explore the benefits of counseling, please reach out to Aspire Counseling, our Columbia, MO area counseling clinic. We would be more than happy to discuss how one of our skilled mental health counselors may be able to help you get the rest you need.