[Causes of Insomnia]: 34 Reasons Why You Find it Hard to Sleep at Night


What are the causes of your insomnia?

You toss and turn on your bed, but it is not the position, is it?

Your sleeping position has almost nothing to do with why you can’t fall asleep.

And even when you manage to fall asleep, something seem to wake you too early or frequently that you end up with a poor night’s rest and a loooooong day.

What could be making it that hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep long enough to feel rested in the morning?

Lifestyle or habits

We are creatures of habit. In other words, we learn and master behaviours through repetition.

Unfortunately, some of these habits can disturb our sleep.

1. Late heavy meals.

Eating heavy meals late in the evening may result in indigestion, and stomach upset that can keep you up late at night.

2. Naps.

No doubt, naps during the day can be refreshing.

However, any nap longer than 30 minutes or taken after 3.pm can confuse your body to think that it has already slept for the night.

3. Overhydration.

Drinking too much water close to bedtime can disturb your sleep by frequently waking you up at night to pee.

*gulp. gulp. gulp.*

4. Alcohol.

Alcohol is a sedative, which means it makes you feel sleepy.

Nevertheless, alcohol will frequently wake you up at night to pee.

Moreover, the sleepy effect wears off fast, and you may find it hard to fall back to sleep that night.

5. Caffeine.

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it keeps you alert.

It is found in most teas, coffees, and pain relievers.

A poll in the National Sleep Foundation found that drinking four or more cup/cans of caffeinated drinks can deny you some sleep at night.

This is because the effect of caffeine can last for up to eight hours.

6. Exercise.

Do you also notice that your alertness increase immediately after exercising?

Too late

When you exercise too late in the evening or close to bedtime, the alertness can keep you past bedtime.

7. Nicotine.

These are also stimulants, mostly found in cigarettes.

Smokers find it hard to sleep, and they usually wake up too early due to withdrawal syndrome.

8. Work shift.

Humans are diurnal, which means we are wired by nature to be up all day and rest at night.

Working night shifts can confuse yo. This confusion can your natural body clock, especially when you force yourself to sleep during the day.

Sleeping environment

9. Bright light(s).

One major factor that tells your body to stay awake during the day is sunlight.

Similarly, bright lights from your phones, TV, and even electric bulb(s) can keep you awake at night because your body will think that it is still day time.

10. Uncomfortable beds and pillows.

This can make you toss and turn throughout the night without enjoying a good sleep.

11. Room temperature.

A hot or cold room can change your body temperature.

When your temperature goes above or below average, your body reacts by sweating or shivering, and both can disturb your sleep.

12. Noise.

The busy nature of the day is another factor that keeps us from dozing off in the marketplace.

Therefore, when the night is not silent enough, you may find it hard to fall asleep.

13. Jet lag.

Flying to another country with a different time zone can confuse your body’s sleep clock.

This is because the new day and night time will be different from the former one that your body knew.

14. Sleeping partner.

When you share one bed with a sleep mate who has any sleeping disorder (mentioned below), they can affect the duration and quality of your sleep.

Sleeping disorders

15. Insomnia, which means sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder on its own.

However, other sleep disorders that can affect your sleep or that of your sleep partner are;

16. Snoring

17. Restless Leg Syndrome (frequently moving of legs while asleep)

18. Sleep apnea (brief interruptions of breathing while asleep)

19. Bruxism (grinding of teeth while asleep)

20. Sleep talking

Mental disturbances

21. Anxiety.

Feeling nervous about your past or future event and responsibilities can keep you up at night.

Sometimes your anxiety may come from over thinking the “thought” of not being able to sleep.

22. Stress.

Emotional pressures from your day can cause your body to produce a stress hormone called Cortisol.

This hormone contributes to your sleeplessness.

Other emotional triggers like grief, divorce, etc. can cause the same effect of sleeplessness.

23. Depression.

A state of prolonged unhappiness about life can disturb your sleep. You are just not in the mood to sleep.

24. Schizophrenic and bipolar disorders are other mental states that can ruin a good night’s rest.


25. Steroids.

Especially corticosteroids trigger the production of Cortisol, which tampers with your sleep time.

Besides, corticosteroids can also increase your chances of developing stretch marks.

26. Pain killers.

Most of these painkillers contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can keep you awake for up to 8 hours.

27. Some medicines used to treat high blood pressure, memory loss and depression were also mentioned in the Top 10 Medicines Causing Insomnia.

Medical conditions

28. Respiratory problems.

Some medical conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or nasal problems can disturb your regular breathing, and your sleep.

29. Gastrointestinal problems.

Stomach trouble(s) can make you sleepless.

30. Chronic pain.

Pains from health issues like arthritis, menstrual cramps or any aches can be severe enough to distract your brain from falling asleep.

31. Sickle cell anaemia.

The smooth circulation of blood during sleep can be disturbed in a sickle-celled patient.

This can cause several emergencies that will wake you up at night.

32. Parkinson’s disease.

Conditions that tamper with the relaxation of your entire body also tamper with your sleep.

In this case, the nerves and muscles are too busy “shaking” to relax for a good rest.

Hormonal secretion

Notable among them are;

  • Cortisol
  • Thyroid
  • Progesterone

Any condition, situation, or medication that triggers the excessive production of any of these hormones can cost you your sleep.

33. Thyroid

An over secretion of this hormone by the thyroid gland is called hyperthyroidism, and this condition can disturb your sleep.

For the women,

34. Progesterone helps to prepare your womb for the attachment of a fertilised egg after ovulation.

Research reported that most women sleep better from 2-3 days immediately before their menstruation starts.

Do you?

Read Also: 9 Simple Signs Of Ovulation That You May Have Missed

However, on the night before your first day of menstruation, you may find it hard to sleep because of the sudden drop in the level of your Progesterone.

This reduction in Progesterone level is also one of the causes of insomnia in most women who have reached menopause.


The older you get, the more you are exposed to these causes of insomnia.

Cleveland Clinic stated that half of the adults experience, at least, one sleeping difficulty.

So, it is OK if you can’t sleep for a few nights.

However, you should not accept it as a way of life, rather, you should strive to take the necessary steps for sleeping better at night.

Was this article helpful?

Post your comments, and also share with just a click on any of the social media buttons below.

[mks_toggle title=References state=”open”]1. Causes of Insomnia: figuring out why you can’t sleep. (Jun. 2019). www.helpguide.org
2. Causes of sleep problem. (Jul. 2019). www.clevelandclinic.org
3. Insomnia – symptoms & causes. (Mar. 2015). www.sleepeducation.org
4. Types of Meds that can cause Insomnia. (Sep. 2019). www.aarg.org
5. What causes Insomnia? (Sep. 2019). www.nationalsleepfoundation.org[/mks_toggle]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here