Yours could have an underlying medical cause. It could be due to poor sleep hygiene (the habits surrounding and supporting, or undermining, your sleep). Your undesired wakefulness may also be worsened by stress, anxiety, medications, or diet.
If you can't fall asleep until 4 a.m., poor sleep hygiene habits like late-night caffeine and bright light could also be keeping you awake. You may have delayed sleep phase disorder, when your circadian rhythm runs later than usual.
There is no set number of hours of sleep that qualifies someone as having insomnia because each person has different sleep needs. Generally, adults are recommended to get 7 hours of sleep each night.
Middle-of-the-night awakenings can be caused by medical conditions like sleep apnea, chronic pain or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Older adults are more likely to wake up overnight. Hot flashes from menopause and some prostate conditions that cause frequent urination can drive people out of bed.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma.
The implications of interrupted sleep can be significant with impacts not just on sleep quality but also numerous aspects of individual health. People who have interrupted sleep tend not to get enough overall sleep. Research has found a strong correlation between sleep continuity and total sleep time.
There are a few ways that experts identify insomnia. The most common way is to classify insomnia by duration. Insomnia lasting less than a month is referred to as transient insomnia; between one and six months is called short-term insomnia, and more than six months is chronic insomnia.
Sleep maintenance insomnia describes an inability to stay asleep through the night. Most often, this means waking up at least once during the night and struggling to get back to sleep for at least 20-30 minutes.
Insomnia Is Common in Older Adults
Insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults age 60 and older. People with this condition have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can last for days, months, and even years.
People with ADHD frequently report having trouble waking up in the morning. For help getting out of bed, try using light therapy or plan something enjoyable for when you get out of bed, such as exercise or a nice breakfast.
Many people with insomnia think they sleep much less than they actually do. They tend to misjudge how long it takes for them to fall asleep and how often they wake up during the night. Sometimes people can even mistake being asleep for being awake.
Is insomnia a mental health condition? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, it is rare for insomnia to be an isolated medical or mental health condition. Insomnia is usually a symptom of another condition or a result of lifestyle or environmental factors, such as a work schedule or stress.
Common causes of chronic insomnia include: Stress. Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.
“People with insomnia will report that they don't sleep at all, but that's physically impossible, as you can't go night after night without sleeping,” says Gerard J. Meskill, MD, a neurologist and sleep disorders specialist with the Tricoastal Narcolepsy and Sleep Disorders Center in Sugar Land, Texas.
If you are struggling to fall asleep remember the 20-minute rule. If you are unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes of trying, take a break. Move to a different bed or the couch, pull out a book and read until your eyes are tired, or go to your kitchen for some water. After this break return to your bed try again.
As we age, this can become a greater problem. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in seniors. Up to 48% of older adults experience symptoms of insomnia.
No matter what your age, insomnia usually is treatable. The key often lies in changes to your routine during the day and when you go to bed.
Treating insomnia typically involves sleep-inducing medication, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i), or a combination of both of these measures. Positive lifestyle changes may alleviate symptoms for some people, as well.
Sleeping beyond the 90-minute cycle may mean you fall deeper into your sleep cycle and will find it much harder to wake up. The best answer to this question is that some sleep is always better than none. Trying to get in a power nap or achieving that full 90-minute cycle is better for you than no sleep at all.
And not just chronic lack of sleep, but a single night of lost sleep. While many people may have heard that sleep deprivation can affect things like metabolism and memory, research is also showing that it can strongly affect anxiety, Alzheimer's risk, and even chronic health at the level of our genes.