Why You Can’t Sleep

Back pain, headaches, and TMJ are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss.

Back pain, headaches, and TMJ are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss.

If it’s been years since you slept like a baby, you’re not alone. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of American adults suffer from insomnia. The figures are even greater for people over 65. Men start out with a higher rate of sleep issues, but women catch up to them by around age 50.

Here are five possible reasons why you can’t sleep.

  1. Pain – According to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation, 15% of Americans reported suffering from chronic pain, and two-thirds also reported having sleep problems. Back pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint syndrome in the jaw (TMJ) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss.
  2. Snoring – It is estimated that 30% to 50% of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. If your partner snores, it can have a definite negative impact on your sleep.
  3. Medications – Some prescription and over-the-counter meds can disrupt your sleep, especially if you take them close to bedtime or if your dosage is increased. If you notice sleep difficulties that coincide with a change in your medication regiment, talk to your doctor.
  4. Stress – Stressful situations or events, both large (financial or marital) and small (in-laws visiting, anticipated work review), often initiate insomnia that can become a long-term problem. Insomnia is a symptom and cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it’s often hard to know which begins first.
  5. Hormones – Menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy are some of the primary sources of sleep problems among women. Hot flashes, tender breasts, and frequent urination all interrupt regular sleep patterns.

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