Insomnia | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes insomnia?

Insomnia is the body’s way of saying that something isn’t right. Things that may cause insomnia include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Too much caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
  • Pain from medical conditions, such as arthritis
  • Changes in work shifts
  • Poor sleep habits, such as an irregular sleep schedule
  • Worrying too much about not being able to sleep

Some medical conditions (such as depression) and certain medicines (such as heart and blood pressure medicines, allergy medicines and corticosteroids) can also cause insomnia.


Nonpharmacologic Management of Chronic Insomnia by Parul Harsora, MD and Jennifer Kessmann, MD (American Family Physician January 15, 2009,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 07/96