7 Diseases That Can Cause Sleep Problems

Most of us have experienced insomnia at least once in a lifetime. Often, sleep problems occur due to stress or changes in routine, such as a new job or childbirth. Insomnia can also be provoked by medications, for example, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Lack of sleep always leads to irritability, daytime sleepiness, and difficulty paying attention. The reasons for insomnia may be hidden in health problems (depression, anxiety or sleep apnea). Actually, insomnia can be caused by more serious diseases that require attention and timely treatment.

1. Anxiety Disorders

Many people cannot fall asleep because they are tormented by anxiety. If anxiety becomes regular, it may result in an anxiety disorder. All types of anxiety disorders have general symptoms: 

  • Excessive worrying
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling Agitated
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Fatigue
  • Tense muscles
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Insomnia
  • Irritational fears
  • Avoiding social situations 

Anxiety can be the cause of both difficulty in falling asleep and waking up throughout the night. 

2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a digestive disorder in which acid from the stomach comes up to the esophagus. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a common cause of insomnia because symptoms often occur at night. GERD symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Bad breath
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Decay
  • Difficulty swallowing 

With GERD, acid passes from the stomach back into the esophagus which can cause inflammation and result in stomach ulcers or internal bleeding. These conditions increase the risk of cancer. 

3. Heart Disease

While insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and stroke, arrhythmia can disrupt your sleep and cause insomnia. If left untreated, arrhythmia can lead to stroke and heart failure. Poor sleep is a significant reason to visit a cardiologist and undergo heart tests

4. Thyroid problems

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (thyroxine). Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Both of these conditions can have impacts on your sleep including sleep apnea and insomnia. 

5. Asthma

Sometimes, asthma attacks can occur suddenly at night which causes a person get up often and disturbs sleep. Also, breathing problems, excess weight, and low quality of life are consequences of the disease and exacerbate insomnia. The risk factors for asthma include:

  • Respiratory disease
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal factors
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Allergies or exposure to allergens (dust, mold, animal hair, fumes from the household cleaners, pollen, etc.)
  • Stress
  • Genetics

6. Diabetes

If your body experiences high blood sugar levels, your kidneys try to get rid of excess sugar. 

This can cause frequent urination at night (one of the main symptoms of diabetes) which can cause sleep problems. However, insomnia can be both a symptom and an aggravating factor in diabetes.

7. Other dangerous diseases

Certain dangerous conditions can also cause insomnia. These include:

  • Cancer 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Insomnia is a serious problem that requires timely treatment. However, if you experience difficulty in falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night, you should pay attention to your overall health including mental and physical health. Don’t ignore this problem and visit a therapist now. 


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Written by Amelia Grant

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