We have all experienced periods of sleeplessness. Whatever you term it – ‘temporary sleeplessness’, ‘acute insomnia’, ‘short-term sleeplessness’, it’s one of the ‘common sleep problems‘ all of us have had at some time or another.
As common as it, acute insomnia can be highly disrupting – especially for those who normally sleep long and soundly ‘til morning.
There may be any number of reasons for an individual suddenly not being able to sleep. A multitude of things can have us waking often through the night. However, it all comes down to one main cause of temporary insomnia: stress!
Stress is the No1. thing that keeps us awake at night
The top cause of sleeplessness is stress. It doesn’t matter what the source of the stress is, it’s what happens in the brain when you are stressed that keeps you from a good night’s rest.
Our brains work overtime when we sleep. Some believe our dreams are our way of solving problems or processing what we have experienced during the day, while we sleep.
Stress interrupts our ability to do this. We find ourselves awake, consciously trying to do what our subconscious usually does, but is suddenly too overwhelmed to do.
Other causes of temporary sleeplessness include:
- Physical stressors such as an injury, ache or pain.
- Disruptions to a normal sleep pattern. This can be anything from a new baby in the house, to noise. This also includes shift work – especially when it involves frequent and regular night shifts. In this case, the sleeplessness can become worse over time: periods of sudden onset insomnia can become more frequent if not dealt with early on – eventually becoming ‘the norm’.
- Age. As we age, we need less sleep and we sleep more lightly too. Episodes of sleeplessness coincide with a gradual overall reduction in sleep hours.
- Apnea. Apnea can disrupt sleep quite severely, without the sufferer even knowing that they are waking frequently, or sleeping listlessly. However, as the apnea progresses, the sufferer will start to wake consciously; sleeplessness soon becomes a part of life.
For some the sleeplessnes goes as fast it came on, having been caused by an acute episode of stress or trauma associated with a particular event, challenge or life change. However, temporary sleeplessness can easily become recurring episodes of sleeplessness, or even turn into chronic insomnia.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to try to find a solution to the sleeplessness as soon as possible. Even if you know your sleeplessnes is ‘just temporary’.
Whatever the cause of your not being able to sleep – try to overcome the effect. Good sleep is essential for a good life.