Top 3 Causes of Insomnia

Learn about the top three causes of insomnia from sleep specialist Priyanka Yadav, D.O. in this Howcast video.

Priyanka S. Yadav: There are many different causes for insomnia. A common cause for insomnia is practicing poor sleep habits. This includes drinking caffeine too close to bed time, using electronics such as the computer or TV close to bed time, and drinking alcohol close to bed time.

If you’re using the computer or you’re watching TV, you become engaged in what you’re doing, and that will cause you to become stimulated, which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Light from TV and computers can also hamper your melatonin secretion.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by our pineal gland, which helps with sleep onset. Now, light is the most activating factor for us. We have receptors that are located in our retina, which will take that light, and send that signal to our brain that it’s time to stay away. So, increasing light exposure in the evening hours will suppress our melatonin secretion. So, what I tell patients is to avoid electronics starting an hour before your bed time, and stay in dim light to help with the sleep onset process.

Now, other causes of insomnia also include medical disorders, such as diabetes, benign prostate hypertrophy, which include frequent urination, which will fragment sleep. Another medical disorder contributing to insomnia can be pain syndromes, such as arthritis. When you’re uncomfortable and in pain, you will wake up often from your sleep.

Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression can also contribute to insomnia. People are already anxious about the amount of sleep that they’re getting and anxiety and depression will just worsen that.

There are also many medications that have a side effect of insomnia. Many of these medications are (?) blockers, thyroid medications, steroids, and medications that include caffeine can contribute to insomnia.

There are many different causes for insomnia, and you should really talk to your doctor to pinpoint what may be the cause for your insomnia.