You can’t seem to get comfortable, and your mind won’t shut down. All you want is sleep, but your body says otherwise. Insomnia takes its toll on your physical and emotional well-being, whether it’s one sleepless night or several.
At NY Metro Sleep in Bronx, New York, our team, led by double board-certified sleep medicine specialist Dr. Rajendra M. Rampersaud, sees firsthand how insomnia affects quality of life. Though insomnia occurs due to many causes, there are numerous factors that may contribute to the sleep disorder.
Here, we want to share some factors that may make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Any change in your usual sleep schedule may make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. Staying up later than usual, sleeping in, and taking afternoon naps can sabotage your nighttime slumber.
Jet lag and shift work cause insomnia by changing your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Your body’s internal clock — the circadian rhythm — sets your sleep-wake cycle, which is why you feel sleepy at night and more awake during the day. Traveling to different time zones and sleeping during the day to work at night throws your body’s internal clock off, making it hard to sleep.
Using electronic devices too close to bed may contribute to your insomnia. The light from your smartphone or tablet disrupts release of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
And, most websites and apps keep you engaged by design, so you stay on the site longer, stimulating your brain.
Are you drinking coffee or an energy drink in the afternoon to get through the midday slump? This late dose of caffeine may contribute to your insomnia. Caffeine is a stimulant that can stay in your body for hours. Cut off caffeine by noon so you can sleep better at night.
Insomnia is a symptom of many health conditions like depression, anxiety, and acid reflux. Getting help for these health issues may make it easier for you to sleep at night.
Though insomnia is common and may only last a few days or weeks, you shouldn’t ignore insomnia that lasts for months. Chronic insomnia may mean your sleep problems are more than just too much stress. Getting checked out can help determine if an underlying health condition contributes to your sleepless nights.
Certain medications may also make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicine. If you’re taking a new medicine that’s affecting your sleep, schedule an appointment with your prescriber to discuss other options.
Any condition that causes pain makes it hard to sleep, which includes pain from an acute injury and chronic pain conditions. While lying in bed, you may find yourself dwelling on your pain and sleeplessness, compounding the problem.
Owning the right mattress and pillow and being in the best sleep position may reduce your pain and improve your sleep.
Other sleep disorders may contribute to your insomnia, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (RLS). A sleep study for your insomnia may reveal that your difficulty sleeping is due to some other sleep disorder.
Insomnia is disruptive and stressful. Figuring out what factors contribute to your sleep problem may help you get the rest you need. Let us help you sleep better. Call our office or book an appointment online today.