Sleep problems can be caused by various factors. Although causes may differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that the body's natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated.
Q: My friend says I'm ruining my health by pulling all-nighters, but I say it's no big deal. Who's right?
A: You're kidding, right? People do vary slightly in their sleep needs, but the idea that a person can exist on three or four -- or no -- hours of sleep a night is FALSE. In fact, you're in the crowd of college students who are chronically sleep-deprived -- which research links to a variety of health problems.
"Lack of sleep impairs your ability to learn, remember, and process new facts,"...
Short-term or acute insomnia can be caused by life stresses (such as job loss or change, death of a loved one, or moving), illness, or environmental factors, such as light, noise, or extreme temperatures.
Long-term or chronic insomnia (insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer) can be caused by factors such as depression, chronic stress, and pain or discomfort at night.
Other factors that can interfere with sleep include:
Genetics: Researchers have found a genetic basis for narcolepsy, a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness.
Night shift work: People who work at night often experience sleep disorders, because they cannot sleep when they start to feel drowsy. Their activities run contrary to their biological clocks.