Sleep Disorders: 5 Possible Causes

If you have trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that about 30% of the world’s population suffers from sleep disorders! And did you know that a lack of sleep can impact your BMI? So what causes this? Why are so many people having trouble catching their Zs?

Well, let’s talk about it. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this guide can help you to:

  • Isolate reasons that you may have difficulty falling asleep
  • What might wake you up at night even if you do fall asleep
  • Steps you can take to get a better night’s sleep

Everyone’s lifestyle is different, but let’s take some time to explore some things that everyone can do to get a better night’s sleep.

1. Your medications

Your medicines can affect your sleep – almost immediately. And the list of meds that can impact your slumber is huge. Whether you suffer from heart conditions, high blood pressure or simply have a cold, you may be adversely impacting your sleep with your meds.

In some cases, there’s not much you can do about this. However, if your difficulty falling asleep is disturbing to you, talk to your doctor. She may be able to reduce your dose or change you to a different medication altogether.

If you feel that you have a sleep disorder due to your cough or cold medications, stop taking them! Choose a “nighttime” variety that addresses your symptoms and take that right before you go to bed.

As you know, your sleep can impact your life, from your BMI to your alertness at work and even your ability to drive. That can be dangerous! So if it’s your medications that are causing your sleep issues, it may actually be safer for you to talk to your doctor about switching than continuing on a pattern of a lack of sleep.

  • Whether they’re over the counter or prescribed, don’t discount the possibility that your meds may keep you awake
  • Talk to your doctor about switching brands or medications if this is the case
  • Choose a “nighttime” variety of over the counter meds and take those before bed

2. Working the night shift

Obviously, you’re not going to be sleeping at night if you’re working the night shift. But for many, working overnight can cause sleep disorders. The trouble is that unless you actually switch jobs there’s no way you can avoid the night shift. However, you can certainly make your sleep more healthy and restful.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Try to always go to bed at the same time, such as when the kids leave for school
  • Avoid coffee and tea when you’re arriving home from work
  • Try room darkening curtains or an eye mask
  • A white noise machine might be a good option for you
  • Ensure your family knows that it’s your bed time – do not accept calls or visitors
  • Use tools! Chamomile tea, aromatherapy, a warm bath and other aids may help you sleep better and more quickly

Good sleep hygiene is important for night shift workers just as it is for day shift workers. Use the methods that work best for you, and establish a good routine to help you combat sleep disorders.

3. Stress

If you’re stressed, it could be impacting your sleep habits, causing sleep disorders. As you know, stress is already bad news for your BMI. Don’t let a lack of sleep further prevent you from getting into a healthy BMI range.

If you’re stressed, it may seem that there’s just little you can do about it. However, there are tips and tricks you can utilize to help bring your stress levels down. Many people have found that these stress reduction tools help make them cope a bit better.

First of all, though, if you’re feeling like you’re getting depressed or that your stress is too much to handle, please talk to someone! Depression is serious, so it’s important that you get help. In the meantime, you can deal with stress through:

  • Yoga
  • Aromatherapy
  • Exercise
  • Relaxing music
  • Keep a stress diary to find your triggers
  • Stay away from caffeine and nicotine
  • Meditation

If your stress is job related, don’t hesitate to talk to your boss. Explain to her what’s causing the stress, then present a solution that you’ve already come up with. She’ll be more likely to help you if you already have a plan in place.

Whatever your stress source, try to find a friend to talk to. Having that sounding board will help you get through it more easily and ultimately sleep more soundly at night.

4. Your habits

There’s a good chance it’s your own habits that are causing your sleep disorder. These habits may even be impacting your BMI. So let’s get working on those, shall we?

Let’s first talk about your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is super high in calories and will slow your metabolism down. But did you know that it can also impact your sleep? Skip that glass of wine before bed, because as sleepy as it’s going to make you, it will also make you wake up in the middle of the night.

Secondly, what about your smoking? Nicotine is a stimulant, so that cigarette you smoke before bed may very well be what’s causing your sleep troubles. Plus, smoking is a terribly unhealthy habit, so just stop doing that anyway, okay?

Finally, what about your weight? We’re going to talk a little bit more about this in the next section, but have you considered that your BMI and your overall weight may be impacting your sleep and causing sleep disorders? If not, think again! If you’re overweight you can certainly experience a poorer quality of sleep than your healthy counterparts.

  • Don’t blame nature on your sleep disorders – sometimes it’s your own habits!
  • Look at your lifestyle, your alcohol consumption and your activity level to figure out why you’re not getting the sleep you need
  • BMI that’s too high can cause sleep disorders, and sleep disorders can cause a high BMI – talk to your doctor if you don’t have a healthy BMI

5. Your hormones

Sadly, it’s possible that your own hormones are fighting against you when it’s time to go to sleep. Whether you’re male or female, there are hormones that can impact the way your brain works and, therefore, the way your sleep happens.

Women who are pregnant or beginning to go through menopause are particularly prone to losing sleep. As we mentioned, your stress hormones can impact your rest as well. Or it could just be that your melatonin levels are off balance due to jet lag, changed daytime schedules or other factors.

If you can’t find a “medical” reason for your lack of sleep, talk to your doctor about running some blood tests. She can help you narrow down the cause of your sleeplessness if it’s hormonal. While a change in hormones isn’t always considered a “sleep disorder” any fluctuation can absolutely impact your rest and your BMI.

  • Your body’s hormones can impact the way you sleep
  • Women are particularly vulnerable to this sleep deficit
  • Talk to your doctor if you can’t determine any other reason for your sleeplessness


When you have a sleep disorder, you are at higher risk for an unhealthy BMI. There are many factors that may impact your restlessness, but most are easily remedied with a few changed habits or a visit to your general practitioner. Whatever the cause, it’s best to resolve sleep disorders right away; improved sleep means improved health!

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