There are many causes of insomnia. According to the Mayo Clinic, they include the following:
Common causes of insomnia include:
Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.
• Travel or work schedule.
Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
• Poor sleep habits.
Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
• Eating too much late in the evening.
Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.
But there’s another cause of insomnia you might not be aware of—yo-yo dieting
New Study Findings that Yo-Yo Dieting Can Be One of the Causes of Insomnia
A new study in The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing found that women who have a history of yo-yo dieting are significantly more likely to have insomnia and other sleep problems. This occurs with just one incidence of losing and regaining 10 pounds.
• Researchers looked at data on 506 women, average age 37, who are taking part in a research project for the American Heart Association.
• About 72% of participants reported one or more episodes of weight cycling, excluding pregnancy, and this prevalence was compared to self-reported sleep issues.
• The study showed strong evidence of overlap.
• Each additional episode of weight cycling was associated with more difficulty falling asleep, shorter sleep time, more frequent use of sleep medications, and more severe insomnia.
• Yo-yo dieters are also five times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea, which has been connected to considerable health risks, including cardiovascular problems.
The researchers didn’t delve into why yo-yo dieting might be associated with this type of effect, but it’s likely a number of factors. Candice Seti, Psy.D, believes that it may involve the effect that dieting has on your metabolism, which plays a significant role in your sleep-wake cycle:
• Yo-yo dieting can wreak havoc on your metabolism.
• When you lose weight, your metabolism can drop, particularly if you have lost weight quickly.
• If you fall off the diet and begin to eat more, your metabolism doesn’t bounce back as fast.
• Also, the hormones that manage stress and hunger can end up out of whack from frequent dieting.
Not only can this cause you to gain more weight than you had when you started, but what you’ll be gaining is fat, not a mix of muscle and fat. Even worse, it will raise your risk of boosting visceral fat, the kind that wraps around your organs and is considered a health hazard.
“Visceral fat is associated with medical conditions like heart disease and stroke, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes,” says Seti, adding that it can become an ugly cycle: The worse your sleep problems become, the more fat you’re likely to put on, and that subsequently impacts your sleep even more.
All of that makes it worth employing a more gradual approach to weight loss, Seti suggests. Instead of dramatic weight cycling, she advises focusing on smaller changes that can help you lose weight at a slower pace—for example, one to two pounds per week. That can help your metabolism adjust, and could help keep your sleep on track as a result.
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