Who Suffers from Insomnia
We can all identify with the odd sleepless night particularly in times of stressful events. For most of us our sleep will go back to normal when the stressor is no longer an issue. However for some people this is not the case and their sleep does not go back to a normal pattern. The longer this goes on the harder it is to break the cycle.
- Individuals who have very irregular sleep wake schedules are at risk for developing insomnia because irregular sleep-wake schedules weaken the signals from the circadian clock regulating sleep and wakefulness. Shift workers or people who travel frequently between time zones are particularly at risk.Individuals who have recently retired or the unemployed may suffer as their sleep schedule becomes irregular due to the lack of routine.Put very simply, the body clock gets confused.
- People who describe themselves as “worriers” are at risk for insomnia. People may be in the habit of overanalysing things and ruminating while in bed. Most people suffering from insomnia describe the ‘busy mind’. They feel exhausted but they can’t stop their mind from thinking. After a period of time of not sleeping the worry increases and a vicious cycle develops. Individuals start to worry about not being able to sleep or not being able to cope the next day. They may worry about the long term effects of not sleeping on their health. People suffering from insomnia think a lot about sleep.
- People with genetic predisposition are also more likely to develop insomnia. People who have a family member suffering from insomnia are at greater risk.Women are twice as likely to experience insomnia as men.Older adults are more likely to experience insomnia.
- Certain medical conditions can be a trigger for insomnia. Physical pain or discomfort can disrupt the normal sleep pattern and these individuals are more at risk of developing insomnia.People with psychiatric or mental health disorders may find that their sleep is badly affected and they are at particular risk of suffering from insomnia.Other sleep disorders may co exist for example Restless leg syndrome (RLS) or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA).