4 Medical Reasons for Insomnia that You Should Know

Nine million Americans take prescription drugs to help them fall asleep. If you or the person you are caring for is one of them, you may want to understand these four medical reasons for insomnia. Doctors divide insomnia into 2 types:

  • Acute insomnia. This usually lasts for a couple of nights especially if you are under stress. When things get better, you’ll find it easy to fall asleep like you used to.
  • Chronic insomnia. This is caused by long-term worry, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and PTSD. When insomnia comes at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or longer, doctors diagnose chronic insomnia.

Medical Reasons for Insomnia

Liver Damage

If you have liver damage, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping. Liver damage can be caused by harmful alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis B and C, metabolic disorders, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Most patients with liver damage have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Their sleep is of poor quality, and in addition to sleeping less, they feel sleepy during the day. We don’t really understand why liver patients struggle with insomnia, but the hormone cortisol probably plays a part in things.

Breathing Problems

If you sleep on your back, you’ll be more likely to snore. Heavy snoring causes sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, your breathing cuts off and you could wake up hundreds of times in a single night without even realizing it. You’ll feel groggy in the morning.

What You Can Do

People who are overweight have risk factor of developing sleep apnea. Nasal allergies and asthma also could interfere with your breathing. Your doctor can help you treat these conditions.


Stress is actually a medical condition that can lead to insomnia. If you are stressed over something then, then you’ll probably find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Stress will raise the cortisol levels in your blood. Cortisol is the hormone that makes you feel energized. Your body secrets cortisol into your blood stream before you wake up and this makes you feel ready to go. Your liver will have a harder time deactivating this hormone if your cortisol levels are high. The longer the hormone stays in your system, the harder it’ll be for you to fall asleep. By keeping calm and relaxed, you will keep your cortisol levels in check.

What You Can Do

Gratitude is a practice that can relieve stress. The more you are grateful for what you have, the happier you will be. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress. Try keeping a daily gratitude journal. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.


Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia don’t only affect a person’s memory. They can unsettle a person. Instead of settling down for the night, some people get restless, confused, anxious, restless, or aggressive around bedtime. They may start to pace, rock, or even wander off. Sometimes this behavior fades, but sometimes it keeps them awake all night.

Better sleep can help you fight infections, boost your metabolism, and cut your chances of getting diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. So you want to make sure that you are doing all you can to get a good night’s rest.