Top 10 causes of insomnia

Some of these Top 10 causes of insomnia might not be what you think!

  1. Stress

Stress is ignorant…it thinks everything is urgent!  Stress is usually on most versions of the top 10 causes of insomnia.  

For sure, stress is one of the main factors that causes insomnia. The brain doesn’t differentiate between mental and physical stress.  The reaction, therefore is identical.

The stress response will have your heart racing, blood pressure rising, digestion surpressed and stifle your breathing.

Unfortunately, when the stress is prolonged, it becomes a vicious never ending circle of sleep deprivation and anxiety.

The definition of stress is simply not getting what you want or think you need.  Consequently, you’re always in an experience of ‘want’, when actually much of the stuff you chase is not something you really ‘need’.

2.  Exhaustion

“You need energy in order to go to sleep”

Might sound counter intuitive, but you need energy in order to calm yourself down.  When you’re exahusted, your adrenals are straining to supply you with the energy you need for the day.  When that happens, your body starts using other reserves upsetting other hormonal systems for example the Thyroid.  Eventually, you’ll burnout.

Take time out to recharge yourself as part of your wellbeing efforts.  It’s not enough to just eat healthy food!

3.  Gut wellbeing

“Your gut microbiome needs to be happy if you’re to sleep well”

Our stressful lifestyle affects the delicate balance of our gut health.  If your gut is unhappy and your digestion is compromised, it will affect the quality of your sleep.

Eating heavily in the evening, for example, will put your digestion under stress.  In the evening, your digestive fire is naturally low and it will struggle to digest efficiently causing imbalances in the gut microbiome and health.

Our mood and psychological wellbeing is also deeply affected by our microbiome.

4. Your breathing is short and shallow

“Let the breath transport you to a kind of peace you’ve never experienced before”  Anandi

Learning how to use the breath to manage stress is vital for anyone suffering from sleep deprivation, stress and exhaustion.  If you can change your breathing pattern, you can change your state of mind.

Your breath is a direct reflection of the state of your nervous system.    When you’re under pressure, your breathing will become shallow.  When the breath is restricted, the mind goes into stress.  Your exhaling muscles become stiff, making it difficult to expand three dimensionally with the breath.

There’s a lot of research about how the breath and nervous system are intimiately linked.  The brain, in fact, spies on the breath so it can be informed of the enviroment and react accordingly.  If you lengthen and deepen the breath, you can almost fool the nervous system into assuming that all is well.  The stress hormones will reduce immediately.

Read my Breath and Stress relief Blog here.

5.  No investment in our own wellbeing

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection” Buddha

Taking time for yourself is not selfish, it’s a necessity for your health and wellbeing.

Unfortunately, the luxury of having 30 minutes a day sometimes seems impossible. But, is it really impossible?  How much time do you waste online scrolling down Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?  I truly believe most people could find 30 minutes a day for themselves.

You can’t possibly give your best to other people, your work or your family if you are running on empty.  The speed of our society is going faster and faster.  People are literally running from the moment they get up in the morning to the time they go to bed.

Over time, it will be more and more difficult to turn off the stress response in the body which more often than not causes sleep issues.

6.  Toxins

“Remember, the quality of your life is dependent upon the quality of the life of your cells. If the bloodstream is filled with waste products, the resulting environment does not promote a strong, vibrant, healthy cell life-nor a biochemistry capable of creating a balanced emotional life for an individual.”  Anthony Robbins

Modern society is full of toxins, junk foods, environmental issues, stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and tobacco. The body is extremely good at giving us subtle messages that we mostly ignore.  Unfortunately, the next message is far less subtle.

In the West, we have come to recognise being healthy as only ‘the lack of disease’, but true health is having vital energy, inspiration and creativity in abundance.

Learning how to create real physical and emotional health will not only take you much closer to a good night’s sleep, but will enable you to give more to others.

7.  Being too busy

“Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront real issues” Sogyal Rinpoche (Buddhist)

As our lives become busier with heavy workloads, instead of resting we often feel that we have to cram our free time too.

Being busy is a way of avoiding certain things in our lives that are difficult. These things will start bubbling up at night and keep you awake if they’re not addressed.

Ask yourself, what am I avoiding?

8.  Stiff body

“Yoga is good for man because the physical body improves, the nervous system improves, the mind improves, the intellect improves—so, how can yoga not be good?” Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Lack of exercise and stretching creates a very stiff body.   Each year of our life we slowly lose a small percentage or our flexibility; stiffness sort of sneaks up on us.  The natural deterioration of the structure of collagen (found in connective tissue) makes us less flexible as we age.  If we don’t stretch and move our body, flexibility decreases as a result of the inactivity.

The mind and body are deeply connected.  Simple stretching is deeply relaxing for the body and the mind.  Ten minutes stretching daily is a great way to help relieve stress and tension.

9.  No peace of mind

“We are human beings, not human doings”.  Deepak Chopra

The mind is a thinking machine, and if you let it, it will run riot.  Constantly planning, worrying, creating, thinking and the feeling that we must be constantly ‘doing’ will create a mind that simply will not switch off.  It will never be in the present moment and always in yesterday or tomorrow.

Take time to meditate!

10.  Impossible goals

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck” Dalai Lama

I’m all for goal setting, however having random goals with no plan causes stress.  I find proper planning reduces stress. I use Daily Greatness Journals to plan.  It gets it out of my head, onto paper and I know exactly what I’m doing.  It’s a revelation!