Causes of Insomnia

Stress is the number one cause of insomnia. Being stressed does not allow your mind to turn off at night, so you can not reach the relaxation you need to obtain deep, healing sleep. Anxiety and depression also contribute to insomnia. Medical conditions such as chronic pain, GERD and breathing difficulties can keep you awake at night. Parkinson's and Alzheimer's patients often have problems sleeping. Taking stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine too close to bedtime can keep you from falling asleep. Disruptions to your life routine, such as a move or a change in employment, affects your sleep patterns

Aging and Insomnia

As you age, insomnia often becomes more common. Sleep becomes less restful, due to increased susceptibility to noises or other environmental factors. Activity Promotes a good night's sleep, so being less physically and socially active can contribute to insomnia. Health conditions that are common in older people, such as arthritis, menopausal symptoms and prostate problems, may keep you from getting the sleep you need.

Medications and Insomnia

Medication for high blood pressure such as alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and diuretics may cause insomnia or broken sleep. Corticosteroids used to treat inflammation and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and allergies often cause cause insomnia by stimulating the adrenals. SSRI antidepressants can cause agitation, impulsivity and insomnia. ARB's used to treat heart disease, statins for cholesterol and cholinesterase inhibitors for memory problems also list insomnia as a side effect. Seemingly harmless over-the-counter antihistamines and supplements, such as glucosamine-chondroitin, can prevent a good night's sleep.

Combatting Insomnia with Yoga

Yoga is a gentle exercise routine that lectures relaxation and breathing techniques. It is especially suited to older women with less flexibility and strength. Studies have shown that yoga is an excellent remedy for insomnia, especially in those who live very stressful lives or are suffering with pain. The meditation element of yoga helps relax your mind and remove thoughts that are keeping you awake. The gentle stretches in yoga help reduce stress, pain and fatigue, and keep your body's symptoms in a state of optimum health. There are specific yoga poses that are especially helpful with insomnia. They include separated twist, breathing half lotus, corpse pose and reclining big-toe hold. A warm shower or hot bath beforehand helps further relax the muscles to make the poses more effective.

No matter what the cause for your insomnia, there is a yoga routine that can help you relax and have a more restful, deep sleep. Practice must be performed for 15 to 30 minutes every day to be most effective. No pills are required, and soon, you will no longer be crying out “Help me sleep tonight!”