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Causes of sleep problems

Sleep can be a problem for many. What are the causes of sleep problems?

Alfred Vogel, the well-known Swiss herbalist, once said that ‘Sleep is the remedy we cannot do without’. However, in this modern world, an increasing number of people find that they can’t sleep well. Our sleep expert, Amy De LaCour, describes some of the causes of these sleep problems.

What are sleep problems?

Anything that causes a person to lose sleep or have a disturbed sleep can be classed as a sleep problem. These problems generally stem from our lifestyle, or occasionally from minor health conditions.

Sleep problems are not to be confused with sleep disorders, which are medical conditions such as insomnia or narcolepsy.

Lifestyle causes of sleep problems

Lifestyle is the biggest cause of sleep problems. These include:

  • A new-born baby – this is definitely a change in lifestyle especially if it is your first. New-born children are a common cause of sleep deprivation for unfortunate mums
  • The sleep environment - this is one of the first factors you should rule out, even if there are other causes leading to your sleep problems. Make sure your bedding is comfortable, that your room is dark enough, and you aren’t being disturbed by noises. Read our sleep hygiene tips for more information.
  • Stress, anxiety and worry - what happens to you during the day can have a big impact on how you sleep at night. Have you been anxious lately? Have you been under more stress at work? What about family problems or worries? Individually, these may not appear to be much, but as a collection, it could be that your mind is unable to settle down when you get into bed. A busy, stressful lifestlye contributes to a problem known as 'Sunday night insomnia'
  • Getting older - most of us do not want to admit to this, but getting older is a fact of life and one of the ‘problems’ we cannot avoid. No matter how fit we are, with age, our sleep pattern changes. Sleep becomes lighter during the second half of the night and in general, less sleep is needed. On the whole, this is not a problem – unless one feels tired during the day, or becomes anxious or worried about not getting a good night’s sleep. In this case, a nap during the day might help with the hours of sleep lost during the night. While for younger people this is inadvisable, it could make a positive difference as you grow older.

Minor medical conditions

There are a number of minor medical conditions which can give rise to sleep problems:

  • Night sweats - for a woman, night sweats due to the menopause can lead to problems sleeping
  • Enlarged prostate – the prostate is not an organ that most men know much about, but 50% of men over 50 suffer symptoms related to an enlarged prostate. This problem is not cancer and becomes more common with increasing age. The most common symptom experienced is the need to get up at night to urinate
  • Restless legs – this is a feeling that you have to move your legs to relieve discomfort. The sensation can also be felt in the arms and hands
  • Tinnitus – this is sometimes known as ringing in the ears. It is another minor medical problem that can disturb sleep, just as a noisy street might.

There are of course, a whole host of other minor medical problems such as a blocked nose due to colds and flu, difficulty getting comfortable in bed because of a stiff neck or a painful joint which may give rise to sleep problems.

#A.Vogel Talks Sleep

Join experts Eileen Durward and Alison Cullen in the beautiful A.Vogel garden as they talk about sleep and why it is the one remedy we cannot do without. Discover their tips on how to improve your sleep quality including lifestyle changes and how herbs such as Hops and Valerian can help promote a better night’s sleep.

Leave your feedback

I would love to hear what you thought of the information you have read on this page. Just leave your comment below, thanks Amy.

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