Everyone has a "bad night" once in a while. Dogs barking, the wind howling, or overeating may make it hard to sleep. It is estimated that 35% of adults have occasional sleep problems, which can have many causes.
- Trouble getting to sleep (taking more than 45 minutes to fall asleep).
- Frequent awakenings with inability to fall back to sleep.
- Early morning awakening.
- Feeling very tired after a night of sleep.
But insomnia usually is not a problem unless it makes you feel tired during the day. If you are less sleepy at night or wake up early but still feel rested and alert, there usually is little need to worry. Fortunately, home treatment measures successfully relieve occasional insomnia.
Occasional insomnia may be caused by noise, extreme temperatures, jet lag, changes in your sleep environment, or a change in your sleep pattern, such as shift work. Insomnia may also be caused by temporary or situational life stresses, such as a traumatic event or an impending deadline. Your insomnia is likely to disappear when the cause of your sleep problem goes away.
- Short-term insomnia may last from a few nights to a few weeks and be caused by worry over a stressful situation or by jet lag.
- Long-term insomnia, which may last months or even years, may be caused by:
- Advancing age. Insomnia occurs more frequently in adults older than age 60.
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or mania.
- Medicines. Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause sleep problems.
- Chronic pain, which often develops after a major injury or illness, such as shingles or back problems, or after a limb has been amputated (phantom limb pain).
- Other problems that interrupt your sleep, such as asthma, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or menopause.
- Alcohol and illegal drug use or withdrawal.
- Cigarettes and other tobacco use.
- Drinking or eating foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, or soft drinks (for example, Coke, Pepsi, or Mountain Dew).