Health Tips & Info : Insomnia Causes and co-morbidities.

Symptoms of insomnia can be caused by or can be co-morbid with:

  • Use of psychoactive drugs (such as stimulants), including certain medications, herbs, caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, aripiprazole, MDMA, modafinil, or excessive alcohol intake.

  • Use of fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs, see fluoroquinolone toxicity, associated with more severe and chronic types of insomnia.

  • Restless Legs Syndrome, which can cause sleep onset insomnia due to the discomforting sensations felt and the need to move the legs or other body parts to relieve these sensations.

  • Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), which occurs during sleep and can cause arousals that the sleeper is unaware of.

  • Pain An injury or condition that causes pain can preclude an individual from finding a comfortable position in which to fall asleep, and can in addition cause awakening.

  • Hormone shifts such as those that precede menstruation and those during menopause.

  • Life events such as fear, stress, anxiety, emotional or mental tension, work problems, financial stress, birth of a child and bereavement.

  • Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or dementia.

  • Disturbances of the circadian rhythm, such as shift work and jet lag, can cause an inability to sleep at some times of the day and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day. Chronic circadian rhythm disorders are characterized by similar symptoms.

  • Certain neurological disorders, brain lesions, or a history of traumatic brain injury.
  • Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism is the term for overactive tissue within the thyroid gland causing an overproduction of thyroid hormones ) and rheumatoid arthritis (Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks synovial joints A Synovial joint, also known as a diarthrosis, is the most common and most movable type of joint [ A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. ] in the body of a mammal.] ) .

  • Abuse of over-the counter or prescription sleep aids (sedative or depressant drugs) can produce rebound insomnia.

  • Poor sleep hygiene ( Sleep hygiene defined as the controlling of "all behavioural and environmental factors that precede sleep and may interfere with sleep." ), e.g., noise.

  • Parasomnias, which include such disruptive sleep events as nightmares, sleepwalking, night terrors, violent behavior while sleeping, and REM behavior disorder, in which the physical body moves in response to events within dreams.

  • A rare genetic condition can cause a prion-based (Prion is is an infectious agent [virus/bacteria/fungus/parasite] composed of protein in a misfolded form [misfolded or Protein folding is the process by which a protein structure assumes its functional shape or conformation.]  ), permanent and eventually fatal form of insomnia called fatal familial insomnia.

  • Physical exercise. Exercise-induced insomnia is common in athletes, causing prolonged sleep onset latency ( Sleep onset latency is the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep, normally to the lightest of the non-REM [ Non-Rapid Eye Movement ] sleep stages.).

Sleep studies using polysomnography have suggested that people who have sleep disruption have elevated nighttime levels of circulating cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone.

They also have an elevated metabolic rate, which does not occur in people who do not have insomnia but whose sleep is intentionally disrupted during a sleep study. Studies of brain metabolism using positron emission tomography (PET) scans indicate that people with insomnia have higher metabolic rates by night and by day. The question remains whether these changes are the causes or consequences of long-term insomnia.

A common misperception is that the amount of sleep required decreases as a person ages. The ability to sleep for long periods, rather than the need for sleep, appears to be lost as people get older. Some elderly insomniacs toss and turn in bed and occasionally fall off the bed at night, diminishing the amount of sleep they receive.

From Wikipedia