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5 Health Problems That Can Cause Insomnia

Learn about the five health problems that can cause insomnia from sleep specialist Priyanka Yadav, D.O. in this Howcast video.


Some health problems that can cause insomnia include medical disorders such as benign prostate hypertrophy or diabetes, which include frequent urination, which will cause you wake up from your sleep and have to use the bathroom.

Now, pain syndromes such as arthritis, can also wake you up from your sleep. When you're uncomfortable and in pain and the pain is not fully controlled, you will wake up from your sleep and have a lighter stage of sleep.

Another common health problem that can lead to insomnia is reflux. Our peak acid production is between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. and eating too close to bedtime can produce reflux. That burning sensation will many times, wake people up from their sleep and cause them to become uncomfortable. So what I tell patients is to avoid eating too close to bedtime and avoid foods that contribute to heartburn.

Now, mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression can also cause insomnia at night. When you're having anxiety or depression, you're in a state of hyperarousal, or in a state of fight or flight, meaning you're constantly worried and you react to little stressors. That puts you at risk for insomnia because you keep worrying about the amount of sleep that you're getting or the lack of sleep that you're having. And when you worry too much about the sleep that you're getting, you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep.

Now, on the other hand, medications that are used treat some of these health problems can also cause insomnia. Some well known medications contributing to insomnia include beta blockers, corticosteroids, thyroid medication, as well as some antidepressants used to treat anxiety or depression.

So a history taken by your physician may help to determine what the root cause of your insomnia is.

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