Causes of sleep disorders: The 7 most common

Causes of sleep disorders: How do I know if I have sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders (insomnia) are a mass phenomenon: Millions of people complain about it in Germany alone. It is often difficult to fall asleep and sleep through, Just as often, those affected wake up unusually early and can no longer sleep. For example, this can lead to constant daytime tiredness, exhaustion or difficulty concentrating.

The following symptoms indicate sleep disorders:

  • Falling asleep regularly takes longer than 20 minutes
  • You wake up more often at night
  • After waking up, you cannot go back to sleep immediately, but lie awake longer
  • In the morning you wake up too early and then lie awake again

If these symptoms persist over a longer period of time, insomnia can become a health problem for those affected – for example, depression is promoted by sleep disorders. But why is it so difficult for us to sleep soundly? We have summarized seven common causes of sleep disorders!

1. You eat too late

Of course it is tempting to sneak back to the fridge late in the evening and treat yourself to a mug of pudding if nobody notices. You are not doing your sleeping routine a favor: Heavy, greasy and / or very sugary food in particular puts a huge strain on digestion, which can cause sleep problems.

Just as dangerous: foods containing caffeine after 6 p.m. If you already have trouble sleeping, you'd better avoid a cup of coffee or a glass of cola in the evening. The same applies to alcohol: Although it often helps you fall asleep, the quality of sleep is poorer and you wake up more often at night.

2. You took an afternoon nap

Two to three naps a week are healthy – a recent study recently confirmed this, as we also described in the article How a Power Nap Protects Your Heart. But you should note that the short nap is also part of your regular sleep time – and you may sleep a little shorter than usual the following night. If you suffer from waking up too early, you should check whether it is due to your nap.

3. You are under stress

It's really not always easy to leave the day's events behind and clear your head – this is practically essential for healthy sleep. Whether problems at work or an almost endless to-do list at home – mental worries trigger stress, which in turn boosts the adrenaline production of the body. Constant stress is pure poison for our sleep – now only the right treatment helps! If you feel that you are suffering from permanent mental stress and cannot fall asleep, get help.

In a therapy, a psychotherapist can work out strategies for coping with stress, for example, on the job, you should honestly talk to your boss about what the workload is doing to you. And your partner can also take care of the household or childcare so that you can take a break and do something about this cause of sleep disorders.

4. Your feet are cold

The body shuts down like a computer so that we can sleep. But he can't do that when our hands or feet are cold: Then he boosts the blood circulation so that the cold limbs are warmed up – which in turn prevents us from sleeping and can trigger insomnia. A warm foot bath or a hot water bottle at the end of the bed can help here. On the other hand, you should avoid socks: they overheat the feet too quickly and can thus disturb the sleep through.

5. You use your cell phone before going to bed

Blue-wave light, which is emitted by smartphones, televisions, etc., influences the production of the "sleep hormone" melatonin, so that the body releases less of it. And that keeps us awake. In order to fall asleep and sleep well, we should avoid electronic devices at least two hours before going to bed. Better: reading a good book or drinking a relaxing cup of tea – that makes most people tired.

6. You suffer from illnesses

Various diseases can also cause sleep disorders in patients. This includes, for example, sleep apnea: It leads to breathing disorders at night and in the long run favors other diseases, among other things at heart. Narcolepsy is significantly less common. The sleep-wake regulation is disturbed. Those affected suffer from severe permanent fatigue and experience real sleep attacks spread throughout the day. As a rule, only targeted therapy helps against such diseases.

7. You take medication

There are also some medications that can cause sleep disorders as a side effect. These include:

  • Cholesterol lowering
  • Antidepressants
  • Asthma medication
  • Painkiller

Ironically, sleeping pills can also cause sleep disorders, if they are taken frequently – provided that they contain so-called benzodiazepines.

If you take sleeping pills or medication that can cause sleep disorders, should talk to his doctor about possible drug alternatives.

Causes of sleep disorders: Even more tips for better sleep

Proper sleep hygiene is also important for healthy sleep: this includes going to bed and getting up at the same time whenever possible. The indoor climate is also crucial: It is best to sleep in the darkest possible room without annoying noise sources. And: Most people can fall asleep well at a temperature between 16 and 18 degrees.

Reading tips: Here we reveal our best sleep tips, how to sleepwalk and what else helps with sleep problems.

Do you want to share health issues with others? Then take a look at our BRIGITTE community!