Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when the person has the chance to do so. Studies show that it can lead to various medical and psychiatric conditions. If you have trouble getting regular sleep, have a general check-up with a health care provider.
It is extremely important to determine if you have sleep disorders or underlying health issues because insomnia can tremendously affect the quality of your daily life.
10 Things Insomnia Can Tell You About Your Health
Your Thyroid is Overactive
If you have an overactive thyroid, you have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. The cause? The thyroid gland produces more thyroxine than needed. The symptoms of this condition resemble symptoms of other health issues, so it is difficult to spot them. In addition to insomnia, you may also experience the following symptoms of an overactive thyroid:
- Unusual sweating
- Frequent bowel movement or diarrhea
- Heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Light menstruation and missed periods – for women
- Fertility issues
- Frequent dizziness
- Hives and itching
- Weight loss
- Oversensitivity to heat
- Swelling of the neck base
- Vision changes
- Change in appetite
Your concerns in life could be the reason why you cannot sleep at night. According to experts, if you are constantly anxious your mind cannot rest, increasing the likelihood of developing insomnia. The problem is that the sleeping brain is unable to distinguish what is happening compared to waking brain, and the neurotransmitters which send signals in the brain will not be able to cope with the threats caused by anxiety.
You Are Physically Stressed Out
Just like anxiety or mental stress, physical stress may also cause trouble sleeping as the heart rate, adrenaline, and body`s temperature are higher, affecting your ability to engage in deep sleep. Deep sleep, known as REM sleep, takes 25% of your sleep cycle and its major functions are stabilizing and balancing mood, storing brain`s long-term memories, and aiding in learning.
You Are Experiencing Acid Reflux
You will not get a good sleep if you are suffering from heartburn or acid reflux. Diseases which affect gastrointestinal tract can affect the quality of sleep as the acid contents from the stomach may rise back as you lie down and cause a burning sensation in the chest and sour taste in the throat.
You Are Having Hunger Pangs
Insomnia can be also related with your eating habits. If your dinner schedule is irregular and you ate earlier, for instance between 5 p.m to 6 p.m, then by 2 a.m your brain triggers the body to ask for fuel/ food.
These hunger pangs are a result of hormonal imbalance. And, this highlights the importance of having a regular routine.
You Are Drinking Too Much Caffeine During the Day
Did you know that it takes up to ten hours for coffee to be eliminated from the body? If you had a cup of coffee early in the day, about 75% of it will be gone by dinnertime. However, if you drink coffee in the afternoon or less than six hours before you go to sleep, you may have trouble getting a good night`s rest.
You Are More Prone to Coughs, Colds and Fever
Do you catch a cough or cold frequently? If you suffer from insomnia, you will often find yourself with coughs, colds, and fever as body`s defenses against bacteria are low. Chronic sleep deprivation is very similar to the body experiencing high levels of stress. Consequently, body`s immunity is lower and you are more prone to the problems outlined above.
You Are Less Sharp and Lack Focus
Insomnia can lead to weakening of cognitive function, causing you to lose the ability to focus. You may also experience slow mental processing which may affect your ability to solve problems and make decisions.
You Have Bad Skin, Especially Around the Eyes
If you are an insomniac, your eyes turn puffy and the skin around it appears much darker. This happens because lack of sleep stimulates the body to work harder in order to bring oxygen to vital organs to prevent a breakdown. As a result, the skin around the eyes grows darker and thinner.
Your Bedtime Routine and Sleeping Conditions Need to Be Improved
Last but not least, your lifestyle can also play a role in how you stay healthy. The reason you are having insomnia may be an unhealthy environment for sleeping. In other words, slow down from your activities when you are in bed, put your electronic devices off, and make sure your room is not overly warm or too messy.