If you are hoping to live a life long enough to enjoy your golden years you will need to do everything you can to maintain good health. This means dealing with issues negatively affecting your health. One aspect of personal health many people have trouble with is getting enough sleep. Not being able to sleep is known as insomnia and can result in the development of more serious health issues. 

What exactly is insomnia? 

Insomnia is considered a disorder when you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The disorder can be acute, meaning it is a short-term condition, or it can be chronic, meaning the condition is long term. If your insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks, it is considered acute. However, if insomnia continues for at least three nights each week for three months or more it is categorized as chronic insomnia. 

Types of insomnia 

Primary and secondary are the two types of insomnia. Primary insomnia is not caused by any other health problem or condition. On the other hand, secondary insomnia is linked to other health conditions, such as depression, asthma, arthritis, heartburn, or cancer. Secondary insomnia can also be linked to pain or side effects of medication. Substance abuse can also result in secondary insomnia. 

What causes primary insomnia? 

Primary insomnia is commonly caused by significant life events causing an increase your stress. This may include loss of employment, divorce, passing away of a loved one or moving to a new place. Your physical environment can also cause primary insomnia. For example, your home may be too noisy or there is too much light coming into your bedroom for you to fall asleep easily. Being in an environment that is too cold or too hot can also cause primary insomnia. 

Dramatic changes to your schedule are another common factor causing primary insomnia. For instance, you may be experiencing jet lag from taking a trip. A new shift at your job may be throwing your sleep schedule off. 

In some cases, primary insomnia may be genetic in origin. Insomnia may be a condition which runs in your family. 

What causes secondary insomnia? 

Other health conditions and issues are the cause of secondary insomnia. Some of these causes may include mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Also, bodily pain from an injury or other ailment can contribute to secondary insomnia for many people. 

Secondary insomnia can also be a result of substances you consume. This may include illicit drugs making it hard for you to sleep. Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can also be the culprits of sleeping difficulties. Also, certain types of medications may cause secondary insomnia. 

Other sleep disorders can result in secondary insomnia. One of these disorders is sleep apnea where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Another sleep disorder causing insomnia is restless leg syndrome which results in an irresistible urge to move your legs. 

Certain physical issues and health conditions can contribute to secondary insomnia, such as pregnancy, Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia. Additionally, ADHD, PMS and menopause are also potential causes of secondary insomnia. 

How do you treat insomnia? 

If you are suffering from acute, short-term insomnia, you will likely not require treatment. On the other hand, your doctor may want to prescribe sleep medications, but you should be careful of the side effects. Those dealing with chronic insomnia may require behavioral therapy.