Insomnia, or inability to sleep, is an occasional problem for over 70 million Americans. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on over-the-counter sleeping aids and another 50 million on caffeine tablets to stay awake during the day.
Everyone has an occasional sleepless night, but for most people, this is not problematic. However, chronic insomnia is a sleep disorder. People who experience chronic insomnia are typically unable to carry out their daily responsibilities either because they are too tired or because they have trouble concentrating due to lack of restful sleep.
- jet lag
- shift work
- wake-sleep pattern disturbances
- anxiety or stress
- exhilaration or excitement
- bed or bedroom not conducive to sleep
- nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, food, or stimulants at bedtime
- excessive sleep during the day
- excessive physical or intellectual stimulation at bedtime
- overactive thyroid
- taking a new drug (medication side-effect).
- Alcoholism or abrupt cessation of alcohol after long-term use
- inadequate bright-light exposure during waking hours
- abruptly stopping a medication (such as sleeping pills).
- medications or illicit "street drugs" (for example, excessive thyroid replacement hormone, amphetamines, caffeine-containing beverages, cocaine, ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, theophylline derivatives)
- withdrawal of medications (such as sedatives)
- interference with sleep by various diseases, including an enlarged prostate (men), cystitis(women), COPD, arthritis, heartburn, and heart or lung problems