Secondary Insomnia: Causes & Triggers
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, more than eight out of 10 people who suffer from insomnia actually have secondary insomnia. Secondary insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, such as depression, anxiety, menopause, Alzheimers or Parkinsons, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, secondary insomnia can be a side effect of stimulants such as medicine, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and sedatives.
Women are more affected by insomnia than men, and research shows that middle-aged African Americans may be at an increased risk of insomnia. African Americans are more affected by sleep-related breathing problems and it takes them longer to fall asleep. People who suffer from a lot of stress, have lower incomes, work night or swing shifts and have inactive lifestyles are at higher risk for insomnia.
With secondary insomnia, it is important to treat the underlying cause of the problem. For example, if caffeine or alcohol is causing insomnia, stopping or limiting your intake may help relieve the insomnia. Lifestyle changes can often help relieve secondary insomnia, making it easier to sleep. The National Library of Medicine suggests avoiding caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bed as well as eating at regular times each day. Getting at least two hours of exercise a day and doing something relaxing right before bed may help as well.
When lifestyle changes arent enough, doctors will often suggest seeing a therapist trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help relieve the anxiety linked to chronic insomnia. Alternatively, doctors will prescribe short or long-term medication that can help you sleep, but which can also make you feel groggy the next morning.