What causes insomnia and what research do you need to go through to understand your reasons?
Insomnia has about 100 causes, they are divided into three groups:
- Physical – health problems.
- Mental / psychological – mental problems, nerves.
- Poor behavior / thinking that causes and worsens sleep disturbance.
The list of studies to identify the causes of insomnia is compiled by a doctor-somnologist within the framework of a consultation – after he has familiarized himself with complaints, the history of the development of the disease and other characteristics of the patient in detail. Below I will write a basic list of studies, but first I will answer your first question – what causes insomnia.
Physical causes of insomnia
These are malfunctions in the body: diseases and disorders that directly impair sleep.
- Diseases of the thyroid gland with a decrease or increase in the production of thyroid hormones. Studies show that up to 60% of the population of some regions of Russia have signs of subclinical, that is, latent hypothyroidism! A very common reason.
- Deficiency of micronutrients. Lack of iron, vitamin D, B vitamins and magnesium, which are important for the nervous system. Lack of calcium – it is involved in the synthesis of the sleep hormone melatonin. Lack of tryptophan is the raw material from which melatonin is “made” in the body.
- Diseases of organs and systems, accompanied by pain or any discomfort. Try to sleep when you have pain, when you can’t lie low without shortness of breath, or your bladder is bothering you every hour. It is unlikely that the results of such a dream will suit you. This group, more specifically, contains the entire “chronicle”: pathology of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints; diabetes, tumors.
- Diseases of the brain: damage to its structures after a stroke, with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, diseases of cerebral vessels, etc. I must say, these are the most “evil” and persistent causes of insomnia, with which sometimes not much can be done. This also includes traumatic brain injury.
- Reproductive reasons: pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, menopause.
- Other sleep disorders, one of the manifestations of which may be insomnia: restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea syndrome, jet lag, social jet lag.
Mental / psychological reasons
Psychopathology is a well-known and very significant group of causes. Insomnia can be caused and maintained by:
- Psychiatric deviations (schizophrenia, psychosis).
- Anxiety disorder.
- Depressive disorder.
Thinking / behavior disorders that cause and worsen insomnia
Examples of such reasons:
- Social jetlag. On weekends, some of us arrange almost an imitation of a transatlantic flight: we go to bed and get up much later than usual, thereby knocking down our biological clock, and then suffer and cannot fall asleep for a long time.
Excess caffeine. Takeaway coffee on every corner, teas in the office … And a chocolate bar at home after dinner. As a result, instead of the permitted 250-300 mg of caffeine per day, a person consumes 500 mg or more. For some people, caffeine does not work, and for some people it makes sleep very difficult.
- Overwork at work, work late.
- Attempts to sleep, which, paradoxically, only exacerbate the problem with falling asleep.
- Increased focus on sleep and insomnia. The more closely you monitor your sleep and the more you think about it, the more problems you will have with it.
- Staying awake in bed: the brain remembers that you can stay awake in bed, and the bed begins to be associated with insomnia.
- Long stay in bed, early bedtime, late awakening or nap in the afternoon trying to “catch up” missing sleep. The longer a person is in bed, the more superficial and intermittent his sleep becomes.
How to find the causes of your insomnia?
If you set a goal and independently pass tests (undergo research) to identify all possible causes of insomnia, then this will require a lot of time and money. A much more expedient way is to see a sleep doctor who diagnoses and treats insomnia.
The somnologist will automatically exclude any reasons already during the conversation with you at the consultation. If you need to clarify the presence of diseases and abnormalities that worsen sleep, he will prescribe an individual list of examinations. For each, this list will be different, but most often patients require the following procedures:
- Polysomnography (sleep research);
- MRI of the brain;
- Blood tests: general, biochemical, tests for thyroid hormones, iron metabolism, for the deficiency of a number of vitamins and trace elements.
According to indications, other studies can be added, if necessary, specialists of other specialties are connected.