- Psychological causes
- Physical causes
- Temporary events or factors
In many people, insomnia can be the result of:
- Anxiety, a condition in which individuals feel increased tension, apprehension, and feelings of helplessness, fear, worry, and uncertainty. This may be due to the effects that other people at work have on us, financial worries, concerns over relationships outside work or numerous other causes.
- Stress, or how effectively a person copes with any emotional, physical, social, economic, or other factor that requires a response or change.
- Depression, a mood disturbance characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement.
The physical causes of insomnia include the following:
- Hormonal changes in women. These include premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Medical conditions. These include allergies, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and Parkinson's disease.
- Pain. Pain and discomfort from a medical illness or injury often interfere with sleep.
- Genetics. Problems with insomnia do seem to run in some families, although researchers have yet to identify how genetics play a role.
- Other sleep disorders. These include sleep apnea A sleep disorder characterized by periods when breathing temporarily stops; the person is momentarily unable to move respiratory muscles or maintain an air flow through the nose and mouth. (in which one temporarily stops breathing during sleep) and periodic leg and arm movements during sleep (in which one's muscles excessively twitch or jerk).
Temporary Events Or Factors
Short-term insomnia can be linked to events and factors that are often temporary, such as:
- Adjustment sleep disorder. This form of sleeplessness is a reaction to change or stress. It may be caused by a traumatic event such as an illness or loss of a loved one, or a minor event such as a change in the weather or an argument with someone.
- Jet lag. Air travel across time zones often causes brief bouts of insomnia.
- Working the night shift or long shifts. Individuals who work at night and those who work long shifts may have trouble adjusting their sleep habits.
- Medications. Insomnia can be a side effect of various medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Overuse of caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine most commonly disrupts sleep. While a drink or two before bed may help a person relax, more than that can lead to fragmented sleep and wakefulness a few hours later.
- Environmental noise, extreme temperatures, or a change in a person's surrounding environment.