Sleep is a vital component of good health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to disease and illness, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) points out that the lack of sleep actually contributes to the onset of these illnesses, not just that they contribute to ill health once a person has a disease.
The medical community recognizes that there are two forms of insomnia. Primary insomnia is when a person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems because of something else, such as asthma, depression, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, pain in the body, or substance abuse. Lack of sleep might also happen because of necessary medication for another illness.
The following will explore the diseases mentioned here in order to shed light on the physical and mental illnesses associated with insomnia.
Asthma – This is an illness that includes symptoms of coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness, which can be experienced in an asthma attack. Although asthma can be controlled with treatment, experiencing its symptoms can interfere with sleeping. Additionally, some experience the panic or anxiety of having an attack at night, which might cause them to lose many hours of sleep.
Arthritis – Common symptoms of arthritis include stiffness or pain that can keep someone up at night. There are over 100 types of arthritis, many of which can lead to painful symptoms, and in turn, keep someone up at night.
Cancer – Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells. There are many forms of cancer, depending on where those growth of cells form. However, symptoms such as pain in the body as well as treatment methods such s chemotherapy and radiation can cause someone to lose sleep at night.
Heartburn – This illness includes chronic coughing, burning, and chest pain. Certain triggers can lead to the experience of heartburn such as certain foods, medication, obesity, and even stress. Experiencing these symptoms can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.
Depression– This disorder is considered to be a medical illness that includes symptoms of persistent sadness, loss of interest in daily activities, occupational and educational impairment, along with eventual emotional and physical problems. Major Depressive Disorder usually requires long-term treatment, including psychotherapy and medication.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – This diagnosis is given to those who experience excessive and irrational worry for at least six months. The excessive anxiety interferes with the ability to function and usually consists of extreme anxiety for everyday matters.
Alcohol or Drug Addiction– An addiction is an illness of the brain. Once the cycle of addiction activates the internal reward system, a rush in the brain, that behavior can become the sole focus of one’s life to the exclusion and detriment of other life-activities. In this case, addiction not only has a strong biological component, but also a fierce psychological component. Once an addiction is in full swing, a simple trigger leads to additional drug use or drinking, which only strengthens the addiction and weakens the ability to stop. And that’s the definition and the main challenge with addiction: behaving compulsively, including losing sleep in order to feed the addiction. This is particularly true for a non-substance addiction such as gambling or Internet use, or excessive sexual activity.
At times, adults may find that insomnia is the result of something simple, like drinking too much caffeine during the day or too much stress at work. Or, as indicated above, it could be a symptom of a larger problem. In addition to physical illnesses, insomnia may indicate a psychological illness, such as depression or anxiety.
Of course, receiving treatment for the primary illness may facilitate getting a good night’s sleep.