What Causes Insomnia: Examining the Underlying Reasons

Do you ever find yourself lying awake in bed, counting sheep but still unable to drift off to sleep? You’re not alone. Insomnia affects millions of people across the world, and it’s a condition that takes a severe toll on physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, insomnia is a common problem across all ages. According to studies, up to 50% of adults [3*]  struggle with insomnia symptoms, and 33% of adults [4*]  have chronic insomnia.

With so many individuals affected by this condition, it’s helpful to understand the potential causes of insomnia. In this article, we’ll look at some of the main reasons for insomnia, which can help you better understand why you may be having trouble sleeping. Knowing the root cause allows you to manage your condition more successfully and get a better night’s rest.

Take the first step towards understanding your insomnia symptoms today.

What Can Cause Insomnia?

Even though there are many potential causes of insomnia, including external and internal ones, we’ll review the ten most common options.

1. Stress. Stress increases the production of hormones called cortisol and adrenaline that make your brain more alert and active, which can lead to insomnia. In some people, it results in difficulty relaxing and falling asleep. In others, constant stress can lead to a pattern of disturbed sleep, making it difficult to get enough rest during the night.
2. Mental illnesses. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can induce negative and racing thoughts at night.
3. Other illnesses. Chronic illnesses such as asthma, arthritis, lupus, and thyroid can all lead to insomnia due to physical pain, discomfort, or inflammation. Illnesses that cause nausea or vomiting, such as the flu or gastrointestinal issues, can make sleeping difficult due to physical discomfort. All of these diseases can contribute to sleep deficiency, impairing overall health and well-being.
4. Age. Older adults often experience more difficulty falling asleep and more frequent awakenings during the night. They can also have trouble staying asleep, leading to early morning awakenings and the inability to return to sleep.
5. Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause can cause fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels, which can lead to insomnia.

6. Medications. Certain medications, including those used to treat allergies, depression, ADHD, asthma, and high blood pressure, may disrupt your sleep. Over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants, can also cause insomnia. Moreover, some pain medications, such as opioids, may lead to insomnia if used for long periods.
7. Recreational drugs. Recreational drugs can disrupt the natural body’s sleep cycle, resulting in insomnia. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine can increase heart rate and alertness, making it difficult to fall asleep. In addition, long-term use of recreational drugs can lead to increased tolerance and dependency, further disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycle.
8. Poor sleep habits. Going to bed late and not getting enough rest can cause your body to become overtired and lead to insomnia. Other poor sleep habits include using electronic devices before bed and eating heavy meals late because it can disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to sleeplessness.

9. Poor sleep environment. Creating an optimal sleeping environment is essential for getting a good night’s rest. Too much light or noise can make it difficult to relax and drift off to sleep, while uncomfortable mattresses, pillows, and bedding can lead to tossing and turning, reducing the quality of sleep and even causing insomnia. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable for the best possible sleep.
10. Jet lag. Jet lag happens when the body’s internal clock is thrown off balance due to a sudden change in the time zone. After a long-distance journey, your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle may be disrupted. Symptoms of jet lag can include difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently throughout the night, daytime fatigue, and headaches.

How to Get Rid of Inability to Sleep?

First, take a free evaluation test to find out whether your signs of insomnia require medical help. Whatever the cause of your insomnia, the best decision you can make is to talk to your doctor and ask for professional advice on what steps you can take to improve your sleep. EZCare Clinic has specialists who will assess your mental state, provide you with a personal treatment plan, and prescribe medication online if it is necessary.


+4 sources
  1. Clinical Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults. (2008)
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  2. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities. (2016)
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  3. Clinical Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults. (2008)
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  4. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities. (2016)
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