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Cause of Insomnia

Could one cause of insomnia be responsible for all your bad nights? Probably not, but depending on your sleep habits, there might be something you can change at home that will significantly improve your sleep.
4 Major Causes of Insomnia

Scientists and doctors seem to classify all causes of insomnia within these four categories:

  • Sleep Hygiene. No, not cleanliness, but hygiene in the sense of sleep habits. Although these habits may be hard to break, working hard at improving them will significantly improve your sleep.
  • Lifestyle Choices. Whether you are single or married, have children or not, work from home or not, etc. will greatly affect your circadian rhythm and your sleep pattern.
  • Psychological Stress. Unfortunately, stress is sometimes uncontrollable, but you can sometimes limit the extent at which the stress will affect you.
  • Medical Illnesses. Other medical conditions and/or medication that you are taking for these medical conditions may affect your sleep pattern. If you suspect that this is your case, you should discuss your medical conditions and medication with your doctor.

    Sleep Hygiene

    The most important aspect of improving your sleep hygiene is improving the way you see sleep. You shouldn't see it as wasted time or a punishment but rather as a reward. You need to remember that sleep is a restorative process that is very important for your body and your mind.

    Here are a few things you can do to improve the way you see sleep:

  • Buy really nice and comfortable sheets

  • Invest in a new mattress and box spring.

  • Adjust the temperature in your bedroom.

  • Adjust the light in your room (either through curtains or actual light fixtures).

  • Improve your bedroom feng shui.

  • You should bear in mind that making such changes will not result in an immediate change in how you feel about sleep, but give yourself a chance to get used to it. The cause of insomnia that you are trying to deal with may not be the only cause of insomnia you will need to work on. It may take you a month before you start to see improvements in your sleep pattern and in how you think about sleep.

    Lifestyle Choices

    Let's be honest, there are some things that won't change. Your kids will not become perfect little angels tomorrow and your partner and you will not always agree on everything, but there are some things that can be improved if you put forth the effort.

    Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock that works on a 24 hour cycle. In order to have and maintain a good sleep pattern, you need to be kind to your internal clock. Try to keep your wake-up time and go-to-sleep time as regular as possible, or within 20 to 30 minutes from your regular sleep time.

    A lot of people enjoy sleeping in on the weekends. I am one of those people and I know I need to stop doing it because waking up on Monday morning is always very difficult for me. It's simply because sleeping in upsets your internal clock. When I limit my sleeping in time to about 30 or 45 minutes, Monday mornings are a lot easier.

    Another simple yet not so easy to break habit is to limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, sugar and nicotine. Don't worry, you don't have to go cold turkey tomorrow morning. Start with limiting your intake in the 3 to 4 hours before going to bed. You might see improvements in your sleep in as little time as a week from now.

    Are you a big fan of exercising? So am I, but the only exercise you should be doing 3 to 4 hours before sleep is stretching or other light exercise. Anything too demanding on your body will affect your circadian rhythm and will create another cause of insomnia.

    What about naps? Well, for those of you without sleep problems, naps should not be an issue. However, if you have trouble falling asleep at night or staying asleep throughout the night, napping may be the culprit.

    Do you watch TV in your bedroom? Although late night news are interesting, watching the day's highlights may not be the best way to let your mind wind down at the end of the day. If you absolutely need to watch TV to fall asleep, try something light without violence.

    If all that fails, you can try adding a few good habits to your sleep routine. Who knows, you might find and cure your critical cause of insomnia. For example:

  • Read a book

  • Listen to calming music

  • Try an aromatherapy bath product

  • Try light exercise such as stretching or certain types of yoga.

  • Meditate

  • Learn some breathing exercises.

  • Psychological Stress and Medical Causes

    If you are suffering from a medical condition that requires you to take medication, you should discuss medication side effects with your doctor. The cause of insomnia may just be a side effect of your medication. If this is the case, your doctor may be able to prescribe another type of medication.

    If you are not taking any medication and suspect that your important cause of insomnia is stress related, try to remember that you can't control everything. Never hesitate to contact a professional healthcare provider to solve your sleep problems.

    Keep in mind that a lot of sleep medication is addictive and you should always follow your doctor's instructions.

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