It happens at certain periods of life that sleep does not come, that our eyes remain resolutely open, staring at the ceiling and that our brain refuses to disconnect from the real world to plunge into that of dreams. You are then subject to what is called insomnia. And if this problem persists, both overnight and over time, we can even go so far as to speak of severe insomnia. However, the human body, so well made, needs periods of restorative sleep to be able to rest and function properly. Sleep is an essential need and lack of sleep can have serious health consequences. It is therefore important to resolve this problem as quickly as possible! But before that, everyone knows that to solve a problem, you must first understand it. So let's ask ourselves the question: what are the factors and causes of insomnia?

This article was updated on 04/12/2023

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Different types of insomnia

We must first distinguish thetemporary insomnia, which occurs occasionally due, for example, to a particularly stressful preoccupation and chronic insomnia which is a repetition of the symptoms of insomnia at least three times a week and over a minimum period of one month.

One in five adults are affected by this second type of insomnia and 9% of them are subject to so-called severe insomnia which is characterized by very short periods of sleep, punctuated by unexpected awakenings.

In the long run, this problem can really become dangerous for health or even simply annoying for the daily life and those around the person concerned.

Cause #1: illness

We don't necessarily think about it first, but sleep is very linked to our health, so when the latter is undermined by a temporary illness or not, sleep suffers. All “winter” illnesses, for example, can cause sleep problems.

ENT infections, colds, bronchitis, rhinitis and other infectious diseases are, for example, particularly troublesome for sleeping because they obstruct the respiratory tract and are sometimes the cause of fever, headaches, wet or dry coughs, or still have a stuffy nose. And while in most cases we clearly identify what is preventing us from sleeping, in the case of a blocked nose for example, certain underlying illnesses are forgotten. However, it is enough to treat the illness to regain restful sleep! So this is very good news.

Other people prone to severe insomnia may also have more serious illnesses or genetic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart problems, sleep apnea or hormonal disorders. In this specific case, adjusted treatment of the problem should also resolve the problem of severe insomnia. This is why if you suffer from it, we strongly advise you to consult a doctor, he may well find the solution to your problem!

Cause #2: genetic factors

Specialists have already highlighted factors of genetic risks which could be the cause of severe insomnia. Most often it was found that this gene was transmitted by the mother, without ever fully understanding why. This is also why the hypothesis of a hormonal factor is also put forward. So don't hesitate to consult your family to find out if they have a history of severe insomniacs. The solution may be there!

Cause #3: environment and lifestyle

Of course the sleeping environment is very important if you want to sleep well. Light and noise, for example, are bad for falling asleep and can cause problems. But lifestyle can also influence sleep, including the number of hours spent in front of a screen, bedtime and wake-up time, and diet. So we take care of ourselves above all!

Cause #4: diet

Diet plays a very important role in falling asleep. A poor diet, meals that are too large in the evening before going to bed or a poor meal schedule can increase the risk of insomnia. For the evening meal, it is advisable to take rather light meals in order to sleep better. Sleep will be deeper and more restorative than after a heavy meal. So eat light!

Cause #5: stress

If in the case of classic, temporary or even chronic insomnia, psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, emotional shock, etc., have clearly been identified. The psychological factors for severe insomnia may be more serious. If stress and anxiety are of course partly responsible, the emotional and psychological balance of the affected person is at stake. In fact, depression is a factor in severe insomnia in 50% of cases.

And unfortunately, it's a vicious circle because lack of sleep can worsen the depression which was itself one of the causes of this lack of sleep. Caught in this endless spiral, it is strongly recommended to consult specialists such as a psychologist to treat depression and regain healthy sleep. So be careful if you suffer from insomnia that nothing seems to explain, these may be the first symptoms of future depression.

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REAL LAVENDER
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Bibliography

Work : de la Charie, T. (2019). Treat yourself with essential oils. Why and how does it work? Editions du Rocher.

About these tips

This aromatherapy article was written by Théophane de la Charie, author of the book “Treat yourself with essential oils”, accompanied by a multidisciplinary team made up of pharmacists, biochemists and agronomists. 

La Compagnie des Sens and its teams do not encourage self-medication. The information and advice provided comes from a reference bibliographic database (books, scientific publications, etc.). They are given for information purposes, or to suggest avenues for reflection: they should in no case replace a diagnosis, consultation or medical follow-up, and cannot engage the liability of the Compagnie des Sens.