5 Leading Causes of Insomnia

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Insomnia is not fun. Prolonged insomnia can impact all areas of your life – from your relationships to your job to your finances and even your appearance. But finding out the root cause of your insomnia is the key to helping you overcome the issue.

As you begin to explore the causes, you may find that there is more than one major factor behind your lack of sleep.

The leading causes of insomnia include the following:

1. Environmental Disturbances

Believe it or not, your environment can bring about insomnia. If your sleeping area is too cold or hot, or too bright or noisy, you may be unable to sleep. Other environmental factors include the sleeping habits of your partner, the size and comfort of your bed, and whether you feel safe in your environment.

Environmental interferences should be examined to see if they are promoting insomnia.

2. Stress

We all experience stress at various times in our lives. Whether the stress is related to work, family, financial, or health issues, it is a psychological factor that can cause insomnia.

Stress is the number one cause of short-term insomnia. This lack of sleep partnered with psychological factors can even lead to depression. If not managed properly and dealt with, short-term insomnia can continue long after the stressful situation has passed.

3. Lifestyle TriggersMany individuals who deal with insomnia are unaware that they are doing things that prompt it. Lifestyle triggers that can bring about insomnia include having an irregular nighttime and morning schedule, drinking caffeinated drinks late in the day, exercising too late in the day, watching high-action movies or television shows or playing video games before bed, or doing mentally intensive activities such as working on your family budget or doing work that you’ve brought home from the office around bedtime.

All of these things can make it hard for your body and mind to switch over to rest/sleep mode.

4. Physical Problems

Physical issues such as pain, discomfort, illness or disorders, as well as menopause in women, may keep you from sleeping. Conditions which can prompt insomnia can include sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Some medications that are taken to treat these issues may also aggravate insomnia.

5. Shift WorkIf you are one of many who do shift work, it is likely that your body clock is confused. You are trying to stay awake when you would generally be sleeping. Likewise, you are trying to sleep when your body thinks it should be awake. Individuals who do shift work are five times more likely to fall asleep on the job than their peers who work consistent daytime hours.

Identifying the cause, or triggers, of your insomnia can help you make the changes necessary to eradicate it from your life. For instance, if your insomnia is brought about due to late night exercising, rearranging your exercise schedule may be all that is necessary to improve your sleep.

These small lifestyle changes, as well as changes in your sleep environment, can promote sleep. My free sleep training course can help you identify lifestyle issues that may be the cause of your insomnia.

If your insomnia lingers, or you think you may be dealing with a physical condition or psychological condition that is keeping you awake, visit your doctor. There is no need to suffer when help is readily available.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.