Main causes of sleep disorders

Insomnia can occur as an independent symptom or as a result of another mental or somatic pathology. Risk factors that can lead to insomnia are psychological stress, chronic pain, cardiac arrest, hyperthyroidism, heartburn, restless legs syndrome, menopause, certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Other conditions for insomnia include night shift work and sleep apnea.

Depression also contributes to insomnia. It leads to changes in the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, which in turn causes an excessive release of cortisol, which can lead to poor sleep quality. Nocturnal polyuria, excessive nocturnal urination, as well as depression, can significantly impair sleep.

Other causes of insomnia include:

  • use of psychoactive substances (psychostimulants), including certain drugs, herbs, cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, aripiprazole, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), modafinil;
  • thoracic surgery (surgical treatment of chest organs) and heart disease;
  • deviated septum and nocturnal breathing disorders.
  • Restless legs syndrome, which causes early insomnia, prevents a person from falling asleep due to discomfort and the need to move the legs or other parts of the body in order to alleviate these sensations.
  • Periodic limb movement disorder that occurs during sleep can cause arousal that the sleeper is unaware of.
  • Pain, injury, or a condition that causes pain can prevent a person from finding a comfortable position in which to fall asleep and, in addition, cause awakening.

Also the appearance of insomnia is affected by:

  • hormonal changes, such as those that precede menstruation or occur during menopause; life events such as fear, stress, anxiety, emotional or mental stress, job problems, financial stress, the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one;
  • gastrointestinal issues (heartburn or constipation);
  • mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
  • some neurological disorders, brain damage;
  • poor sleep hygiene, such as noise or excessive caffeine intake;
  • physical activity (insomnia in athletes in the form of increased latency of the onslaught of sleep caused by training);
  • a rare genetic disease, a rare incurable hereditary (dominantly inherited prion) disease in which the patient dies from insomnia. Only 40 families are known to be affected by this disease.
  • Circadian rhythm disturbances (such as shift work) can cause inability to sleep at certain times of the day and excessive sleepiness at other times. Chronic circadian rhythm disorders are characterized by similar symptoms.
  • Changes in sex hormones in both men and women as they age may partly explain the increase in sleep disorders in older people.
  • In general, insomnia affects people of all age groups, but people in the groups listed below are more likely to develop insomnia.

Risk factors

  • persons aged 60 years and older;
  • the presence of mental health disorders, including depression and other disorders;
  • emotional stress;
  • night shift work;
  • change of time zones while traveling.

Causes of insomnia in children

The causes of insomnia in children are basically the same as in adults. The leading one is psycho-emotional stress. In addition, children are also characterized by other provoking factors associated with age-related characteristics. These include fears that are most characteristic of preschoolers. They lead to nightmares, which can cause sleep deprivation: the child is afraid to fall asleep because he will have a terrible dream.

Another reason is dysfunction of the central nervous system - minor damage that occurred in the prenatal or early postpartum period of life. In this case, insomnia is combined with attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder.