11 Common Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that makes it hard to sleep or stay asleep. It may also cause you to wake up at midnight and have trouble getting back to sleep. When you have insomnia, you feel tired even after sleep.

Adults usually require at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Good sleep is imperative to your overall health, including brain function and mood. The lack of enough sleep you require regularly can significantly affect your physical and psychological health.

Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). The acute condition lasts from a single night to some weeks, while chronic insomnia lasts long and occurs three nights or more each week for at least three months. Studies suggest that around twenty-five percent of individuals in the United States suffer from insomnia each year; however, seventy-five percent do not develop a chronic condition. 

Acute insomnia can lead to difficulty focusing, fatigue, mood disorders, and emotional distress. In the long term, it raises the risk of many diseases. Other common symptoms may include increased accidents or errors, irritability, anxiety, and stress about sleep. 

You may wonder what causes insomnia. There can be several reasons, including:

1- Nicotine, Caffeine, Or Alcohol

Tea, coffee, or other fascinating beverages are stimulants. Consuming these drinks, especially in the late evening, can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Nicotine products are another stimulants that may interfere with sleep. 

Alcohol can both foster and hinder sleep. Studies show that alcohol’s impact on sleep varies and is related to dose. Alcohol dependence is associated with sleep disorders and rapid eye movements. However, alcohol-related problems must be treated before the condition depreciates. There are plenty of addiction treatment centers in the US, including the Delphi Behavioral Health Group. You might want to consider these institutes to help prevent yourself or your loved one from further health complications due to alcohol. 

2- Stress and other mental health problems

Stress and anxiety often lead to sleep troubles, including insomnia. Persistent stressors, such as dissatisfaction at work, the death of a loved one, crucial life changes, divorce, family problems, and major injury or illness, can all contribute to chronic insomnia. 

Although not everyone develops long-term insomnia due to stress, those with anxiety disorder are more vulnerable to developing insomnia. Once you develop insomnia, you might often feel worried about sleeping and other aspects of your life. This raises day-to-day stress levels, which, in turn, aggravates symptoms of insomnia. 

3- Work Schedule or Travel

Your circadian rhythms work as your body’s clock, guiding things such as your metabolism, sleep-wake cycle, and body temperature. Interrupted body circadian rhythms can cause insomnia. Jet lag from traveling, working an early or late shift, or frequently varying shifts can lead to sleep troubles. 

4- Eating Late in The Evening

When you eat late at night, the muscles that metabolize and digest food have to continue working even in their resting time. It can hinder your ability to sleep and inhibit you from getting the deep, peaceful stage of sleep you require to feel energetic the next day. 

Excessive eating late in the night may also cause you to feel uncomfortable while lying in bed. Many people experience backflow of acid into the esophagus and heartburn after eating late at night, affecting their sleep. 

5- Medication 

Prescription drugs can be one of the reasons people experience insomnia. Certain antidepressants and medicines for blood pressure or asthma can interfere with sleep. Besides, some over-the-counter medications like cold or allergy medication, pain killers, and weight loss products may consist of stimulants and disrupt sleep. 

6- Medical Conditions

Insomnia may also be linked to medical conditions, including chronic pain, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, overactive thyroid, Alzheimer’s disease, and digestive health conditions. 

Whether from chronic back issues, arthritis, cancer, or any other health problem, any pain can prevent you from falling asleep. And to complicate the problem, sleeplessness can make the pain more severe, creating a cycle. 

Asthma and nasal allergies could interfere with your breathing while you try to sleep, interrupting your rest.

Gastrointestinal disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) are also associated with sleep issues. Individuals with GI disorders are more likely to experience insomnia compared to those who do not have it. 

7- Poor Sleep Habits

You might experience insomnia due to irregular naps, a bedtime schedule, an uncomfortable environment, stimulating activities before bedtime, and watching tv before bed. Smartphones, computers, video games, television, or other screens can make falling asleep difficult. Consider limiting screen time late in the evening and try turning off electronic devices, like phones, laptops, and TV, one hour before bedtime.

8- Other Sleep Disorders

Certain sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, may contribute to insomnia.

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that periodically obstructs your breathing, disrupting sleep. It is characterized by a repetitive collapse of your upper airway while you sleep, which might lead to choking and heavy snoring, daytime sleepiness, and other impairments. 

Restless legs syndrome causes uncomfortable or unpleasant sensations in the legs and a powerful urge to move them, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. 

9- Premenstrual Syndrome 

Women who experience premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder often face difficulty sleeping. It can happen before or during your menstruation period. Hormone variations can affect the temperature of your body and melatonin production, a vital hormone for sleep. In addition, mood changes due to these syndromes may further disrupt sleep. 

10– Menopause

A woman’s body gradually stops producing estrogen and progesterone, typically in middle age. The hormonal changes and the imbalance, as well as other problems that happen in the life of women at this time, can make them vulnerable to stress, which affects their sleep. 

11- Pregnancy

Around seventy-eight percent of pregnant women face difficulty sleeping at some point. The reasons might include hormonal changes, heartburn, nausea, back pain, leg cramps, difficulty getting comfortable, vivid dreams, anxiety, and the urge to pee more often.


Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder defined as persistent trouble sleeping and maintaining its quality. It happens despite sufficient time for sleep and a comfortable sleep environment. Individuals with insomnia may experience fatigue, excessive sleepiness in the daytime, mood disturbances, decreased motivation and energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety. In the long term, insomnia can lead to poor mental health and an increased risk of developing certain medical conditions. It is usually the result of some life events, habits, or stress. Learning about various underlying causes of insomnia and addressing them at your earliest possible can help you lead a lively and stress-free life.

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