Causes of Insomnia - Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia
Most people have suffered with at least a short term bout of insomnia at some stage in their lives. However,
some of those may be more prone to either transient or long term, chronic insomnia. There are several causes of
insomnia that can be attrbuted to various conditions.
Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
The undisputed number one cause of insomnia is excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. Almost everyone has
experienced transient insomnia the night before a job interview, big presentation, wedding, or other significant
personal event. Transient insomnia usually passes after the stress-inducing event has passed.
Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, is a much more serious condition because it can affect an individual for an
extended period of time. Persistent stress at work or home can lead to chronic insomnia as can anxiety and
One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is the presence of one or more sleep disorders. Sleep
disorders can severely disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with an individual's quality of life.
A person with sleep apnea will stop breathing several times during the course of a night's sleep. The pauses in
breathing last about ten seconds, and can occur up to 30 times a night.
A person with sleep apnea may not be aware of their condition. But the cumulative effect of waking up several
times a night can cause them to lose sleep, leading many sleep apnea patients, albeit wrongly, to conclude they are
suffering from chronic insomnia.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is another sleep disorder that can cause severe chronic insomnia. Individuals with
restless leg syndrome will experience crawling sensations on their limbs, especially their calves and ankles. The
symptoms of restless leg syndrome become magnified during long periods of inactivity, so sufferers will usually
experience the majority of symptoms during the night. Individuals with restless leg syndrome can have a difficult
time falling and staying asleep, and may experience significant discomfort. People with restless leg syndrome often
experience involuntary jerking of their legs during the course of the night. It's no surprise that restless leg
syndrome often causes chronic insomnia and daytime fatigue.
Environmental factors such as light, noise, temperature, and partner's sleep habits can severely disrupt the
quantity and quality of sleep. Excessive light at night has been shown to disrupt sleep. Very bright artificial
light should be avoided, and sensitive sleepers should even avoid dim artificial lighting. Insomnia has also been
linked to lack of sufficient light during the day. Studies have shown that individuals who expose themselves to
bright daylight may suffer from significantly less sleep disturbances than those who do not get bright
Noise can obviously also adversely affect a person's ability to get restful sleep. People who live near busy
city streets or next to noisy businesses or neighbors may have difficulty achieving a good night's rest. A sleep
enviroment that is either too warm or too cold is another common cause of insomnia. It is recommended that
individuals suffering from chronic insomnia experiment with the temperature of their sleeping area until they find
the most comfortable sleep setting.
Another common environmental factor that can lead to insomnia has to do with the sleeping arrangements and
sleeping partners. A partner's sleeping habits can have a detrimental effect on their bedmates ability to achieve a
restful night's sleep. Loud snoring, tossing, and other nighttime habits can alter significantly the amount and
quality of a person's sleep. For instance, if one person enjoys watching television in bed or reading before bed,
the other person's ability to fall asleep easily and to remain asleep may become compromised.
Overuse of Alcohol, Stimulants, and Sleeping Pills
The consumption of alcohol, stimulants, and overuse of sleeping aids has been linked insomnia. Alcohol should be
avoided several hours before bedtime. Stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes should also be avoided. Research
has shown that the overuse of sleeping pills can also compromise their ability to be effective, and lead to chronic
Chronic Medical Conditions
The presence of a chronic medical condition, such as arthritis, kidney problems, Alzheimer's disease, and
Parkinson's disease as well as many other medical conditions have been shown to cause insomnia. Medical conditions
that cause pain, such as arthritis and kidney disorders and be the cause of insomnia whilst at other times the
insomnia may be triggered by medications used to control a particular medical condition.