Sleep Care

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia (Can’t Return to Sleep)

What is sleep-maintenance insomnia?

People with sleep-maintenance insomnia will often wake in the middle of the night and either have difficulty returning to sleep or be unable to return to sleep. This form of insomnia can have harmful effects on a person’s health due to lack of sleep. Often insomnia is caused by stress, anxiety, traumatic circumstances, pain, acid reflux, heart problems, medications, poor sleep hygiene, depression, caffeine or alcohol. Some sleep medications can also cause sleep-maintenance insomnia as they wear off and the patient is unable to return to sleep.

Lack of sleep can affect our lives and our health in many ways. Lack of sleep often will lead to daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, poor work performance, difficulty concentrating while driving, depression and many other health problems. Often, people will compensate for lack of sleep by using caffeine and other stimulants. This can also make insomnia worse and lead to not only difficulty staying asleep but also difficulty falling asleep.

Sleep-maintenance insomnia can also be a warning sign for sleep apnea. Frequently people who have trouble breathing during the night will wake up and have difficulty returning to sleep. If you have trouble maintaining sleep you should see your physician and ask whether your difficulty sleeping is due to insomnia or other sleep-related disorders.

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