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What Are the Common Causes of Insomnia?

What Are the Common Causes of Insomnia?


The common causes of insomnia are anxiety, medications, disruption to normal routines, chronic medical conditions, and age.


Insomnia is a sleep disturbance disorder that can be caused by factors ranging from lifestyle choices to getting older. If you are experiencing problems with falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, review the following list of causes. You may be able to eliminate your insomnia by making simple changes to your daily routines.

Anxiety and Stress

If you are constantly worried about your job, your children, money or some other facet of your life, your mind may be not be able to turn off at night, preventing sleep. Major life changes, such as losing your job or getting a divorce, can elevate your stress levels and disrupt your sleep.

Medications and Stimulants

Insomnia is a side effect of many drugs prescribed for common ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease and allergy relief. Some over the counter medications for weight loss and pain relief contain caffeine, which is a known stimulant. Nicotine is another stimulant that can cause sleep problems. If you drink coffee or smoke close to your bedtime, the caffeine and nicotine can interfere with falling asleep.

Disruption to Normal Routines

Traveling to a different time zone and sleeping in a different bed can disrupt your internal clock, making sleep at your normal time difficult. If your work schedule requires you to change to an evening or overnight shift, insomnia may result until your body adjusts to the new schedule.

Chronic Medical Conditions

Many chronic diseases, such as arthritis, acid reflux disease, and diabetes, are known contributors to insomnia. If you suffer from a chronic condition that causes discomfort and pain, talk to your doctor to find out if any of your medications are causing insomnia or if the time you take your medicine should be changed.

Getting Older

Your body changes as you get older. Some changes, like menopause in women, are known causes of insomnia. You may slow down and not get much exercise as you age, so your body is not tired at bedtime. You are also more likely to take medicines that cause insomnia as a side effect.



“Insomnia.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

“Insomnia: Causes –” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.


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