We’ve all been there: it’s already 2:00 in the morning, and sleep is nowhere in sight. It’s called insomnia, and it can have a huge effect on relationships, jobs, and overall life satisfaction. Figuring out what is causing insomnia is key to figuring out how to treat it. Here we’ll look at five common causes of insomnia.

Poor Sleep Habits

Poor sleep habits are the most common causes of insomnia and can include irregular bedtimes, getting up at different times every morning, and watching TV in bed, to name a few. Advice at pureplan.com suggests sticking with a routine. For those who have never followed a sleep routine, start small: go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, even on days off. Falling asleep may be a struggle at first, but after a week, the body starts settling into the routine.


If a sleep routine isn’t working, look at stress levels. According to Mayo Clinic, everyday concerns and stressful life events can both cause insomnia. This is often because during the day, the mind is active and occupied, and there isn’t time to fixate on stress. But, when bedtime rolls around, the mind clears. And when the mind is clear, it tends to fixate on things causing stress. Try writing down stressors in a day planner before bed. Then, when the mind tries to fixate on those things, remind yourself that everything is written down and can be tackled in the morning.

Circadian Rhythm Interruptions

The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that tells the body when to go to sleep and when to get up. In a sleep routine, it’s the circadian rhythm doing the work. This rhythm can get thrown off, often by work. People who cover different shifts at work often struggle with insomnia. The best thing to do in these situations is to arrange work shifts that are more consistent rather than ones that bounce around from early mornings to late nights.

Medical Conditions

Not all insomnia is caused by something you’re doing. Sometimes, insomnia is caused by medical conditions such as sleep apnea or chronic disease. If nothing seems to be working, Forbes suggests talking to a doctor or scheduling an appointment with a sleep specialist. Those preparing for an insomnia appointment should write down everything they’ve tried already, and things they’ve noticed about their specific insomnia. Maybe a person falls asleep fine, but then wakes up a few hours later and can’t get back to sleep. This information helps doctors figure out what is going on.


Sometimes, insomnia is caused by something as simple as eating too close to bedtime. Feeling too full or having heartburn makes the body uncomfortable, and an uncomfortable body isn’t conducive to sleep. To avoid this, try having dinner at the same time every night, and make sure that time is a few hours before bedtime. But, make sure it isn’t too early, as being hungry can also make it hard to fall asleep.

Insomnia can be frustrating to deal with, both for the sufferer and for any loved ones sharing their room. Figuring out the cause of insomnia, and learning good sleep habits, can help make the night more peaceful for everyone.

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