How To Get To the Root of Your Insomnia

Oct 02, 2023
How To Get To the Root of Your Insomnia
Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Bad sleep can make facing a new day seem impossible, especially if it becomes a chronic problem. The best way to treat insomnia is to uncover the cause. Read on to learn more.

Jumping into bed and heading off to dreamland should be the least stressful task on your daily to-do list. However, up to 35% of adults struggle with insomnia, which is a medical condition that interferes with a person’s ability to get quality sleep.

Insomnia may seem like a small inconvenience, but it can be a significant problem. In fact, not getting proper sleep can negatively affect your overall health. That’s because your body needs a certain amount of sleep in order to function properly, so real problems can add up if you constantly fall short.

Our team can help get to the bottom of your insomnia at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois. If you’ve started dreading bedtime, here’s what you should know about insomnia.

Recognizing insomnia

It’s true that insomnia often involves problems falling asleep. However, that’s only one of many symptoms of this disorder. 

People with insomnia can also experience:

  • Waking during the night or too early
  • Not feeling rested after sleeping
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Depression, anxiety, or irritability
  • Problems remembering things, focusing, or paying attention
  • Increased mistakes or accidents

Insomnia can even cause people to worry about sleep itself.

While it’s normal to have problems sleeping from time to time, it’s important to identify the root cause of your sleep issues if it becomes an ongoing issue.

Understanding the causes of insomnia

If you’ve ever lost sleep because of work, money, or a life event, you’re not alone; stress is a common cause of insomnia. But other things can also trigger this problem, such as:

  • Travel schedules
  • Life events, such as pregnancy
  • Poor sleep hygiene, such as irregular bedtimes or using screens before bed
  • Consuming too much food close to bedtime
  • Mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress and anxiety
  • Medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, chronic pain, neurological disorders, and cancer
  • Certain medications, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Age-related changes, including menopause

Insomnia can also develop because of other sleep-related disorders, from restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea.

Since insomnia can vary significantly from person to person, it can be tricky to identify the cause. Fortunately, our team specializes in sleep medicine, so we can get to the root of the problem and restore your sleep quality.

Diagnosing insomnia

Our team uses several methods to determine the issue behind insomnia. 

The simplest approach often involves a sleep diary. As you might suspect, this journal captures details about your sleep, such as when you go to bed and wake up, as well as how you feel afterward. We also review any medications you may be taking and look for underlying medical causes that can trigger sleep disorders. 

Based on our findings, we can offer personalized recommendations to help foster quality sleep, such as:

  • Creating a consistent sleep schedule and limiting naps
  • Avoiding substances like caffeine and alcohol in the afternoons and evenings
  • Not eating large meals before bedtime
  • Increasing or modifying your exercise regimen
  • Adding relaxing bedtime rituals to encourage drowsiness, like reading or a warm bath
  • Setting up your bedroom to foster relaxation and sleep
  • Adjusting medication usage, if possible

If the underlying cause of your insomnia isn’t clear, we might suggest a sleep study

Sleep studies use specialized technology to capture various data while you sleep, such as your behaviors, breathing patterns, brain waves, and oxygen levels. Analyzing this data can help us identify issues that may be interfering with your sleep quality.

Once we identify the root cause of your insomnia, we can offer solutions to help you get those ZZZs again.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, we can help. To learn more, call 815-584-0976 or book an appointment online with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.