Insomnia is often linked to other health problems, whether physical, emotional, lifestyle-related or a combination. In fact, sleep troubles appear with other health problems so often that clinicians presented with insomnia often screen for underlying disorders and treat them at the same time. Here are 5 health conditions that can interfere with sleep.
Mental health disorders, especially anxiety and depression, are among the most common health problems to appear alongside insomnia. Some studies suggest that nearly half of all people with insomnia also have a psychiatric diagnosis. In addition to anxiety and depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia often present with insomnia.
Acid reflux, or GERF (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is when acid flows from the stomach into the esophagus. Unfortunately, nighttime symptoms are common—sufferers wake up coughing or experiencing severe heartburn. GERD is very treatable with lifestyle and diet modifications, medication, or even surgery in extreme cases.
The pain associated with arthritis, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia and other illnesses can make it difficult to drift off. In an extremely unfair catch-22, sleep deprivation also makes people less resistant to pain. It’s crucial that those with chronic pain make sleep a priority—prognosis for long-term pain management improves significantly with better sleep.
People with an under or overactive thyroid—hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively—often find it difficult to get to sleep. Thyroid diseases are manageable with medication and lifestyle adjustments, and diagnosis is typically as simple as a blood test.
Some breathing problems, like emphysema, asthma, and bronchitis, can be especially troublesome at night. This is due to Circadian rhythm-related changes to muscle tone around your airways, and is so common that doctors describe nighttime attacks as "nocturnal asthma." If you have a breathing disorder, make sure you take your medication at the time specified by your doctor, and take extra care to make sure that your sleeping environment is free of asthma triggers, like dust.