Can’t Sleep? Here Are 11 Surprising Causes
Sleep. It’s as elusive as leprechaun gold, and twice as valuable. The number of health conditions linked to poor or inadequate sleep is almost endless, with obesity, diabetes and heart disease topping the list. But sleep ought to be something we can control — just get to bed early and sleep the night away, right?…Read more
1. Blue-light insomnia
You’ve heard time and time again to turn off electronics an hour or so before bed because these devices emit a blue light that suppresses melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. However, glaring blue light even three or four hours earlier — like watching TV during or shortly after dinner — is enough to delay melatonin production, says Karl Doghramji, M.D., director of the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center in Philadelphia. You don’t have to turn off the tube, though.
He recommends wearing a pair of glasses that blocks blue light (available from a variety of online retailers) until you tuck in (and when you wake up at night, too). That way, you have no problems winding down with the TV on.
2. Menopausal insomnia
Declining estrogen can prompt disturbances — including hot flashes — in the middle of the night. Research indicates that about a quarter of menopausal women have sleep problems severe enough to impact their ability to function during the day.
Head off hot, sweaty wake-ups by using sheets and pajamas that wick moisture, and sleeping on a buckwheat pillow, which is more cooling than traditional latex or down, advises Shelby Harris, director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. If your partner likes it warmer, consider having a separate comforter for each side of the bed.
3. Stealth caffeine insomnia
4. Free-wheelin’ insomnia
5. Nap insomnia
6. Bed-confusion insomnia
Reading may be a relaxing activity, but you should take your book to an armchair — not your bed, Harris advises. “I prefer that the bed is only used for sleep and sex,” she says. Even calm activities like puzzles or an adult coloring book can cause your brain to associate the bed with activities that you pursue while awake, which can affect your ability to drift off at night.
7. Alcohol-induced insomnia
8. Prescription insomnia
Sleep can also be interrupted by poor timing of your medications. Some, like diuretics for blood pressure, can make you have to urinate more often…Read more
9. Anxiety insomnia
10. Bedroom-based insomnia
Lying in bed trying to force sleep to happen out of boredom backfires, Harris says. It can convince your brain that being awake in bed is normal. Instead, get up and go into a different room, and…Read more
11. Medical insomnia
“Insomnia is both a symptom and a disease,” says Nathaniel Watson, M.D., codirector of the University of Washington Sleep Center, director of Harborview Sleep Clinic in Seattle…Read more