The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, even when you feel tired, can be frustrating. Lying awake night after night will eventually leave you chronically sleep-deprived, which can lead you to develop an array of health issues. However, insomnia can also be a warning sign of various illnesses. Learn more about why you might have trouble sleeping and what you can do about it.
Understanding the Sleep Cycle
Doctors recommend active young adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. While sleep quantity is one part of the equation, quality is equally critical. If you spend each night tossing and turning instead of progressing smoothly through the stages of the sleep cycle, you’ll wake up feeling worn-out and irritable instead of energized and refreshed.
In a typical night, a healthy person goes through four to six sleep cycles lasting approximately 90 minutes each. Your ability to transition seamlessly through these cycles multiple times per night is a vital part of getting restorative sleep. People who keep waking up and interrupting the pattern will eventually struggle with excessive daytime fatigue, trouble concentrating and memory issues. Over time, they may also become more vulnerable to developing health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, a weakened immune system and a loss of balance and coordination.
What Causes Insomnia?
Some sleep disruptions are short-lived and resolve on their own after a few nights. For instance, worries about an upcoming job interview might rob you of a few hours of sleep, but there’s probably no cause for alarm if this issue goes away by itself. Here are some factors that can contribute to long-term insomnia.
Irregular Sleep Schedule
Failure to stick to a regular sleeping schedule may lead to insomnia by confusing your built-in body clock. For instance, some frequent travelers end up developing sleep disorders because they jump between time zones so often. Shift workers might also be more likely to have insomnia. Others naturally have a circadian rhythm that’s out of sync with the norm, so it’s difficult for them to sleep at night.
Trouble sleeping is sometimes a symptom of an underlying physical health issue like acid reflux, IBS or restless legs syndrome. People who struggle with breathing problems such as sleep apnea and COPD might wake up dozens of times per night without being consciously aware of it, then wonder why they are so groggy and irritable the next day.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Many mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD and panic attacks, can consistently interfere with your ability to get a full, restorative night of sleep.
Drinking alcohol interferes with the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which can cause you to wake up abruptly and have trouble falling back asleep. In general, the more alcohol you consume before bed, the more severely it will interfere with your ability to get a full, restful night of sleep. If you regularly rely on alcohol to manage your insomnia, your tolerance will keep building, which can increase your likelihood of having a substance use disorder.
Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at PACE Recovery
Living with a dual diagnosis can significantly interfere with your quality of life. Worsening mental and physical health will eventually impact your relationships and ability to fulfill daily responsibilities.
At our single-gender Orange County treatment facility, we simultaneously address both parts of a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder by creating a customized plan for each client. Contact us today when you’re ready to learn more about tailored recovery for young men.