Can’t Sleep? The Top Causes of Insomnia

Millions of people struggle with insomnia on any given night. Insomnia is a sleep problem characterized either by trouble falling asleep or difficulty remaining asleep. People dealing with insomnia may not be able to fall asleep even though they feel tired, may awaken during the night after only sleeping for a short while, or may wake early in the morning and not be able to fall asleep again. The good news is that, if you suffer from insomnia, there are things you can do to enjoy better sleep.

Insomnia may be either an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) condition. Insomnia may also be characterized as primary or secondary. Primary insomnia is not directly caused by another medical problem, while secondary insomnia is caused by another condition or medication.

What Causes Insomnia?
There are a number of causes of sleep problems. Fortunately, many of the causes can be treated or resolved. Psychological or psychiatric causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, and depression. Stress and anxiety can cause your mind to race when everything is quiet and you are trying to sleep. Depression can also trigger sleep problems (either difficulty sleeping or feeling tired all the time). Stress, anxiety, or feelings of depression that persist or are severe should be discussed with a health care provider. Counseling or medication can help to relieve these conditions and lead to more restful sleep.

Health Issues
Chronic pain causes sleep problems for many people. Back pain is one common example, but any kind of pain can interfere with sleep. People who deal with chronic pain may find it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or may awaken after falling asleep. Chronic pain can sometimes be managed with medication or other pain management techniques, so it is a good idea to discuss chronic pain with your doctor if it is interfering with sleep.

Breathing problems like asthma, COPD, and sleep apnea can also cause insomnia. Problems like asthma and COPD not only cause anxiety (which interferes with sleep), but can also cause additional physical problems that contribute to insomnia. Sleep apnea may cause you to wake many times each night, and also frequently causes sufferers to feel tired in the morning. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be effectively treated with simple, wearable sleep belts (learn more at and some simple sleeping position adjustments.

Environmental Causes
Medications and stimulants (like caffeine and nicotine) are frequent causes of insomnia. Check the labels on prescription and over-the-counter medications or discuss these medications with a physician or pharmacist to see if they might be causing sleep problems. Limiting stimulants, particularly later in the day, is also an important step in restoring good sleep patterns if you struggle with insomnia.

Certain foods can contribute to sleep difficulties as well. Foods that are spicy or greasy can cause stomach irritation that makes it difficult to sleep. Eating a large meal shortly before going to bed can also disrupt sleep. Lifestyle and routine are important factors in maintaining a good sleep cycle. Changes in schedule can disrupt normal sleep cycles, whereas maintaining a regular pattern of going to bed and rising at the same time each day can contribute to healthy sleep.

Electronic gadgets are also frequently responsible for triggering sleep difficulties. The combination of mental stimulation and the light emitted by electronic devices can make sleep difficult for some time after turning off the devices. Turning off the TV, computer, tablet, or phone half an hour or an hour before you plan to sleep gives your brain a chance to relax and prepare for sleep.

A good night of sleep is important for mental functioning and physical health. Often there may be more than one cause of insomnia, but being aware of what might be causing the problem is an important first step toward good sleep. Try making necessary lifestyle adjustments and talk with a trusted health care provider about the role medications or medical problems may play in your insomnia if lifestyle changes do not cure the problem.


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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