Causes of Insomnia (Contd.)
Use of stimulants
Caffeine, nicotine and ingredients in several nonprescription drugs for weight loss, asthma, and colds, can interfere with sleep. The use of caffeine near bedtime can trigger awakenings later in the night. Smokers may take longer to fall asleep than non-smokers.
Use of alcohol
Many people find that consumption of alcohol at night help with the onset of sleep. However, the sleep induced by alcohol tend to be very light and fragile throughout the night.
Alcohol produces several sleep-impairing effects. In addition to causing the release of adrenaline, alcohol impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain, and, because the brain is dependent upon tryptophan as the source for serotonin (an important neurotransmitter that initiates sleep), alcohol disrupts serotonin levels.
Shift workers and those who maintain later hours on weekends than during the week, are likely to experience sleep problems. Ayurvedic practitioners, for example, suggest that having a disciplined lifestyle with regular sleeping and waking time is one way to combat insomnia.
People who lead sedentary lifestyle may find it difficult to sleep at night because of their inactivity during the day. In fact, exercise is one of the best antidote for sleep problems.
Activities in and around the bedroom
Activities such as changing into night clothes, turning off the lights, pulling up the blankets etc. can serve as cues that encourage wakefulness. People who have trouble sleeping in their own beds may fall asleep quickly when they are doing things such as reading the newspaper, watching TV, or driving etc.
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