Mainstream sources attribute insomnia to a variety of unrelated factors. Women, and people over 60, are known to suffer from sleep disorders more frequently than men and younger people. Alcohol consumption, depression, disruptions of the normal sleep/wake schedule, changes in the environment, poor health, a sedentary lifestyle, travel, and stress are all believed to contribute to insomnia.
Pioneering researchers have linked insomnia to disruptions in circadian rhythms—the natural cycles by which the body produces hormones, chemicals, and neurotransmitters. With a Circadian Rhythm Disorder, the production of melatonin (the “sleep” hormone), and serotonin (the “wake” hormone) at the wrong times can signal the body to fall asleep during the middle of the afternoon, but leave sufferers wide-eyed and alert in the middle of the night. Circadian rhythms can be disrupted by insufficient exposure to sunlight; not only upsetting sleep/wake cycles, but also potentially triggering the depression associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which further impairs the ability to gain a restful night’s sleep.2
Additional Information about Insomnia