Can Insomnia Point to a Medical or Psychiatric Problem?

In a word, yes.


The ability to fall asleep easily and awaken refreshed is a sign of good overall health. People who have arthritic pains, restless legs, itching skin, anxiety, depression, and many other problems may have difficulty falling asleep. When doctors hear that a patient has been awakened by a symptom, it carries special significance that it relates to an underlying medical problem. Depression, for example, can be associated with early awakening.

As we age, the elastic tissues of our bladder are replaced by fibrous tissue, so we need to urinate more frequently both during the day and at night. Limiting fluid intake between dinner and bedtime decreases the fluid volume in our body. Between dinner and bedtime, try to lie down on a sofa with your feet on the armrest so they're higher than your head and read a newspaper or book with your arms elevated for 10 to 15 minutes. Blood flows from your extremities into your chest, thereby stretching the heart muscles and causing them to release natural diuretics. This will result in one or two urinations before bedtime, decreasing the need to urinate during the night.

If one gets enough sleep, it is much easier to lose weight, boost the immune system, avoid diabetes, and function effectively. Just as it's important to have darkness while falling asleep at bedtime, it is helpful to have very bright lights in the morning to adjust your biologic clock (the pineal gland and its melatonin), thus combating seasonal affective disorder and making it easier to fall asleep early the next evening. Remember: "Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Health Advice Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for the general information of the reader and to help patients become better informed to consult with their own physician. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship, and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating… Read more >>