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Factors That Cause Insomnia

Updated on April 27, 2011


Insomnia can be defined as the inability to obtain fall asleep for a prolonged period of time. You can also have a sense of feeling tired during the day or falling asleep during the day, not feeling refreshed when you wake up, and waking up several times during your sleep. Insomnia can make you feel restless, agitated, and frustrated. Insomnia has several causes ranging from sleep, medical, physical, psychological, and psychiatric disorders. Insomnia can also be caused by temporary events or factors.

The most common psychological causes of insomnia are:


Anxiety is caused when someone feels increased tension, apprehension, and feelings of helplessness, fear, worry, and uncertainty. Anxiety is goes hand and hand with stress in situations such as financial problems, examinations, troubled relationships, and other undesired circumstances.


Stress is how a person copes with any emotional, physical, social, or economic change. The events that cause stress are called stressors. They can range from anything from physical danger to making a class presentation or taking a really hard class.


Depression occurs when one has prolonged sad feelings.

The most common physical causes of insomnia are:

Hormonal changes in women

Hormonal changes include premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormonal changes can also cause imbalances in emotions and mood swings.

Decreased melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that helps control sleep. The levels decrease as a person ages. By the time a person is a senior citizen, the body produces very little melatonin.

Certain medical conditions

These include allergies, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and Parkinson's disease.


Pain from a medical illness or injury can prevent sleep. If the pain is unbearable, try taking pain killers or consulting a doctor.

Other sleep disorders

Sleep apnea is another common sleep disorder. It occurs when one temporarily stops breathing during sleep. There is also periodic leg and arm movements in which one's muscles excessively twitch or jerk.

The most common temporary events or factors of insomnia are:

Stressful events

Lack of sleep can be caused by a traumatic event such as an illness or loss of a loved one. It can also be caused by a change in the weather or an argument with someone.

Jet lag

Travel across different time zones can cause insomnia.

Working the night shift or long shifts

Workers that work the night shift or work long hours can have trouble sleeping.


Insomnia can be a side effect of various medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.

Overuse of caffeine and alcohol

Excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol can effect sleep.

Other factors

Insomnia can be caused by environmental noise, extreme temperatures, or a change in a person's surrounding environment.


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    • sunchild28 profile image

      sunchild28 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Great and wonderful teaching you shared in here which is well presented or readers easy understanding,thanks for sharing.