Why Sleeping Disorders Develop


July 18, 2014

A lack of sleep can do far more than make a person feel lethargic and irritable. The Mayo Clinic states that insomnia can contribute to heart, weight and metabolic concerns as well. Yet as frustrating as it is to lay awake each night, an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment can successfully manage many sleeping disorders. However, integral to treating a sleeping disorder is first identifying the primary problem. So if you can’t sleep, consider these common insomnia causes:

Poor Sleeping Conditions

Do you keep the television on when you go to bed? Are the windows open or the lights on when you try to snooze? Then you might be making it harder for your body to fall asleep. Noise, whether it comes from your TV or street traffic, can disrupt your sleep cycles. Light can also prevent the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces slumber. Heat can affect your ability to sleep as well. To create an ideal sleeping environment, eliminate as much noise and light as possible and keep the room temperature below 70 degrees.

Nighttime Stimulants

Certain activities and beverages can also produce insomnia. The nicotine in cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco can keep you awake at night, as can the caffeine found in soda, coffee and certain teas. Many people rely on a nightcap to relax in the evenings, and though it may initially accomplish this task, alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation encourages individuals with insomnia to avoid alcoholic drinks in the hours preceding bedtime. If you need to unwind before going to bed, try a warm bath instead.

Existing Medical Problems

No matter how comfortable their sleeping environment or helpful their habits, some people simply can’t sleep. If you fall into this group, it may be because of a current medical condition. Many health issues, especially those common to older individuals, can result in insomnia. If you suffer from heartburn, heart failure, arthritis pain or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), consult a physician about alleviating the symptoms contributing to your sleeping disorder. Keep in mind, though, that some medications may also interfere with your sleep cycles. So before taking any prescription drug, ask about its potential sleeping side effects.

Summary Points:

  • Sleeping disorders can increase the risk of serious physical health problems.
  • Lifestyle habits and home environment may be to blame for insomnia in some cases.
  • Insomnia can also result from existing health conditions.

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