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.
By Chris Obenschain
It's 2 p.m. and you're tired. You've been busting your you-know-what since midmorning, and even though you have hours left in your day, you're mentally and physically exhausted. But what if we told you there was a way to refresh and recharge -- that taking a nap could help perk you up, plus it could boost your memory, creativity and even lower your blood pressure? So could you spare 90 minutes? No? What about 60 minutes? Or 25, 10, or 6? Yes, really -- six minutes. And there's...
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.