14 Reasons Why You Might Have Insomnia

Maybe you always stay out late because you enjoy a good party, and now, to no one’s surprise, you’re very tired. Or, you might be at the office until the wee hours to get ahead at work. In these cases, we’re not talking about insomnia.

Today, we’re talking about that type of insomnia that takes place when you can’t fall asleep, even if you want to, or you can’t stay asleep for too long. Today we’re discussing and addressing some of the underlying medical reasons why we might suffer from insomnia and what to do. Who knows? You might even be able to fall asleep tonight!

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Some events, such as a job loss or even the death of a loved one, might cause us sleepless nights. Your doctor could even call it acute insomnia, as long as it goes away on its own in a couple of nights. However, prolonged worry, just like anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and PTSD, might lead to chronic insomnia, which is definitely more serious.

Irregular sleep times

Well, a confused body clock might keep you up when it’s time for bed. Maybe that’s the result of an inconsistent bedtime, a long flight from a different time zone, or even working overnight and changing shifts for your job. Some people just have a different circadian rhythm that puts them out of sync with normal activities, so it might be hard for them to sleep in “regular” timeframes.

Mental illness

A deeply troubled mental state plays a huge role in our day-to-day well-being. People who suffer from depression are far more likely to have sleep issues, insomnia included. The same goes for those who have anxiety, bipolar, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

The way you tackle sleep can be affected and offer relevant clues to the type of illness you have. It’s not that uncommon to be diagnosed with a mental disorder after you seek help for insomnia.

Breathing issues

Heavy snoring might be related to sleep apnea, which also cuts off your breathing and might wake you up hundreds of times throughout the night. You might not even remember it, but you might feel groggy the next day.

Sometimes it might be related to your weight, but not in all cases. Nasal allergies and asthma, on the other hand, might interfere with your breathing. A doctor might be able to test you for these conditions and even help you manage and treat them.


Along with loss of memory, Alzheimer’s and any other forms of dementia might unsettle some people when you would normally expect them to sleep, and they become restless. It’s commonly known as “sundown syndrome” or “sundowning.”.

The person might get confused, anxious, restless, and even aggressive around bedtime and even start to pace, rock, or wander off. Sometimes this type of behavior fades, but sometimes it still keeps them awake all night.


Whether it’s arthritis, chronic back issues, fibromyalgia, cancer, or any other serious condition, pain could prevent you from peacefully drifting off or even interrupting your rest. To make matters even worse, sleeplessness might make the pain hurt even more, which creates a vicious cycle. You might have to deal with the symptoms separately from the illness that’s behind them.


Some conditions, like psoriasis and eczema, might make your skin burn and itch so bad that it might become all you think about. No amount of counting sheep can distract you from that. If you do fall asleep, you might even scratch so hard that it wakes you up again. Luckily, there are things you can do to soothe your skin. If you don’t really know what’s causing the itch, it’s best to see your doctor.

Parkinson’s disease

People with this disease might sleep less and wake up more often than others of similar age. It generally interferes with the brain and nerve-tingling, and you are way more likely to have sleep apnea and wake up to pee.

The condition also seems to affect the important REM sleep stage. Related anxiety and depression might also lead to sleep issues, too. Even if some medications might help you sleep better, they might also add confusion in some cases.


Generally, during middle age, a woman’s body stops making progesterone and estrogen. There’s a shifting balance of hormones, but there are also other changes that might happen during this time in a woman’s life.

If that’s the case for you, then this might make you more sensitive to things such as stress, which all affect sleep. Severe hot flashes, including surges of adrenaline that raise your body temperature, might be so uncomfortable that you can even wake up drenched in sweat several times a night.


Women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other serious premenstrual dysphoric disorders (PMDD) might have issues sleeping. This generally happens right before or during their period. Hormone changes might affect your body’s temperature and its production of melatonin, a hormone very important for sleep. Also, mood shifts caused by PMS or PMDD might make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.

Digestive issues

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) might also be linked to sleep issues. In fact, 55% of people with GI issues suffer from insomnia.

These numbers are compared to 20% of those without GI issues. We don’t really know whether this is due to the fact that digestive issues keep you up at night because sleep loss makes GI worse, or maybe a combination of both.

Photo by Gladskikh Tatiana from Shutterstock


The vast majority of women, or 78% of them, have issues sleeping at some point during their pregnancies. There are many reasons for that, such as hormonal changes, the urge to pee more often, heartburn and nausea, trouble getting comfortable, back pain, leg cramps, anxiety, and vivid dreams. Getting enough sleep is even more important when you’re pregnant. You can tell your doctor if you’re suffering from sleep issues.


Drugs for allergies, heart disease, hypertension, thyroid issues, and depression, especially SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), might ultimately cause insomnia. Some ADHD and Parkinson’s disease medications might also keep you up, along with pseudoephedrine, discovered in many over-the-counter decongestants.

You might want to check with your doctor when it comes to adjusting or even changing your medication, especially if you feel it might affect your sleep.

Primary insomnia

This would imply that there isn’t any issue related to your environment, physical health, or mental health that’s making you lose sleep. Doctors believe some people’s brains are simply made to be more alert.

In fact, they may be too alert when, in fact, they should be sleeping. It’s still unclear, but this might be the result of some physical difference in the brain, possibly caused by genetics. Scientists keep studying all the underlying possibilities.

What does suffering from insomnia do to you?

Lack of sleep might make you moody, cranky, anxious, and even depressed. It might also be a bit harder to think straight or even remember things. Also, you’re way more likely to have an accident in your car or anywhere else that might injure you or someone else. Insomnia is oftentimes linked to conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease.

Struggling with insomnia? Maybe this little adult meditation audio player could help you. It sure helped me!

If you found this article useful, then you also need to read: 8 Alarming Causes of a Lingering Cough and How to Treat It


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