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What Causes Insomnia and What You Can Do to Help

Insomnia causes many people across America to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night. Unfortunately, the causes aren’t always clear and there isn’t one all-encompassing solution. Here’s a list of the most common sources of insomnia and what you can do to help:

1. Medical

It is possible for insomnia to be triggered by medical causes such as nasal allergies, acid reflux, asthma, or chronic pain. In these cases, the discomfort caused by the afflictions interfere with a person’s ability to relax and fall asleep. This type of insomnia should be treated by a medical professional who can relieve the underlying cause.

2. Lifestyle

Many people unknowingly give themselves insomnia with an unhealthy lifestyle and poor sleep habits. For example, many Americans work in the evening, which interferes with their ability to unwind at the end of the day. Also, looking at screens late into the night prevents your brain from processing the time of day and can keep you up later than you would otherwise. If you find yourself doing any of these things, try taking a bath or reading a book at night instead. 

Long naps or sleeping-in can cause insomnia because they can confuse your body’s internal clock and make it difficult to fall into a pattern of healthy, uninterrupted sleep. Try to limit naps to 30 minutes or less and go to bed at the same time every night. Also, using old and uncomfortable mattresses also cause people to toss and turn at night and can prevent them from falling asleep or cause them to wake frequently in the night. Mattresses should be replaced every 8-10 years and they should be based on your unique comfort level. 

3. Food & Drink

It is wise to avoid both depressants and stimulants in the evening. Experts suggest that alcohol and nicotine should not be consumed an hour before bedtime and caffeine should have at least six hours to leave your system. Heavy meals before bed can trigger your digestive system that interferes with sleep. If you experience heartburn at night, you might consider an adjustable bed frame that allows you to elevate your head above your heart at night.

4. Sleep Disorders

Some people experience insomnia as a result of restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. Restless leg syndrome is a neurological condition that causes an uncomfortable feeling in someone’s legs and an irresistible urge to move them, and it tends to become worse later in the day. It can be so unpleasant that it prevents someone from falling asleep or causes them to wake during the night. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s airway becomes partially or completely obstructed during sleep. This pauses their breathing and causes them to wake multiple times during the night. Again, these disorders should be treated by a medical professional.

There are many reasons why Americans find it difficult to fall asleep, from anxiety and depression to chronic pain and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Getting proper sleep is important for your mental and physical wellbeing, so be sure to consult an expert if you are experiencing insomnia. If you find that you can’t get into a comfortable position to sleep, your mattress might be the culprit.

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