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Can't Sleep? – You don’t have to put up with insomnia. Simple changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can put a stop to sleepless nights.

Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Because different people need different amounts of sleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping—not the number of hours you sleep or how quickly you doze off. Even if you’re spending eight hours a night in bed, if you feel drowsy and fatigued during the day, you may be experiencing insomnia.

Although insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, it is not a single sleep disorder. It’s more accurate to think of insomnia as a symptom of another problem, which differs from person to person. It could be something as simple as drinking too much caffeine during the day or a more complex issue like an underlying medical condition or feeling overloaded with responsibilities.

The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes you can make on your own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.

In order to properly treat and cure your insomnia, you need to become a sleep detective. Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression cause half of all insomnia cases. But your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health may also play a role. Try to identify all possible causes of your insomnia. Once you figure out the root cause, you can tailor treatment accordingly.

Are you under a lot of stress?
Are you depressed or feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
Is your sleep environment quiet and comfortable?
Are you spending enough time in sunlight during the day and in darkness at night?
Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?
Common mental and physical causes of insomnia:
Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when the insomnia is tied to an obvious temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.

Psychological problems that can cause insomnia: depression, anxiety, chronic stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medications that can cause insomnia: antidepressants; cold and flu medications that contain alcohol; pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin); diuretics, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications.
Medical problems that can cause insomnia: asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, cancer, chronic pain.
Sleep disorders that can cause insomnia: sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome