5 Conditions That May Be Causing Your Insomnia

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

While insomnia can turn your life upside down, poor sleep rarely occurs in a vacuum. Sometimes, sleep troubles might be a result of simple bedtime mistakes, such as caffeine intake, staring at bright monitors, reading in bed, etc. However, they’re just as often a symptom of other problems. Here are five of the most common:

Other sleep disorders

Narcolepsy and sleepwalking are familiar sleep conditions, but there are other lesser-known ones that can cause trouble at bedtime. Non-24, for example, means your body thinks the day lasts more than 24 hours, and tries to keep you up later and later with each passing day. With sleep apnea, as our sleeping body forgets to breathe, we are startled into wakefulness often throughout the night.

Neurological conditions

Illnesses such as restless leg syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, even the nerve damage from untreated diabetes can result in twitching, shaking, and other involuntary movements. These can wake us from our sleep repeatedly, and may be a likely suspect if you drift off easily, but wake up constantly.

Hormonal imbalances

Hyperthyroidism, or indeed any hormonal problem, can quite easily result in severe insomnia. If you find that you’re prone to manic behavior, anxiety, excitability, excessive hunger or thirst, and these issues keep you up, wake you up, and make what rest you get less satisfying, there’s a good chance this is the culprit behind your insomnia.


Do you exercise a lot? If you do and you and your sleep is terrible, then there’s a good chance you’re overdoing it. Overtraining leads to insomnia, mood swings, heart palpitations, reduced gains in the gym and a host of other problems. Even if you ‘feel fine,’ consider taking your workout down a notch and see if anything changes.

Depression and anxiety

Many forms of mental illness can lead to insomnia, either directly, because of chemical imbalances, or from causing you to lay in bed fretting and imagining terrible things deep into the night. Be aware that anxiety doesn’t always mean feeling sad or depressed, so don’t dismiss the possibility. If your mind races in bad directions every night when trying to sleep, that’s enough to warrant seeing a doctor.

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.