Insomnia: 5 Shocking Things You May Not Have Known

Tossing and turning night after night is complete torture. Waking up in the morning and struggling throughout the day on only a couple of hours of sleep exhausts the bod

By: Anders Sandberg (Flickr)

y mentally and physically. Those lucky enough to never experience insomnia, might assume it is simply someone who has trouble sleeping; but it is so much more complicated than that. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep and can be triggered at any moment by stress, hormones, and lifestyle changes. Here are five interesting insomnia facts that you might not have known.

1. Insomnia is not only a struggle to fall asleep, but also the inability to stay asleep. Desperate for a few hours to rest, people understandably turn to pills and often alcohol. While it might make you drowsy and get you a couple of hours of sleep, it won’t keep you asleep for long. Taking pills and drinking alcohol can make it difficult for your body to fall asleep on its own and only worsen your insomnia.

2. Caffeine can inhibit sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping it might be from drinking soda and other caffeinated beverages and eating caffeinated food. Before turning to sleeping pills, make sure to eliminate any foods that may contain caffeine. Yes, that means chocolate too!

3. It can be heredity. Although most problems with insomnia are due to lifestyle and stress, heredity is one of the insomnia facts that there isn’t a lot you can do to change. Recent studies have shown that heredity plays a role in insomnia as some people’s bodies are more sensitive to stressors. That means you can blame mom or dad for your lack of sleep.

4. Women suffer from it more. Unfortunately for women, insomnia affects them twice as often as men. This can be linked to the hormonal changes women experience throughout their lives, from the early teenage years to menopause. Pregnancy hormones alone can kick sleep right out the window.

5. Partying on the weekends can lead to insomnia. I have said it before, and I will say it again, adults need bedtimes too. During the week, we set our alarms and make sure we go to bed early enough to get the allotted eight hours of sleep. The weekends come around and we suddenly stay out extra late knowing we get to sleep in the next morning. The constant change in sleep patterns can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, causing insomnia throughout the week.

Before popping that sleeping pill or sipping on another cold glass of beer in hopes of falling asleep, it might be a good idea to take a closer examination of your life. Simply changing your diet and managing your sleep schedule can make leaps and bounds in helping you sleep. Grab a piece of paper and track the hours throughout your day and night. Get to bed earlier; if you are reading this at 2:00 am, it might be time to shut off the computer and hit the pillow. After writing down activities throughout the day and your daily bedtimes, you might be surprised to find the cause of your insomnia staring you in the face. Insomnia can be beat with a lot of hard work and a soft enough pillow.

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