Read below about trouble sleeping, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your trouble sleeping from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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6 Potential Trouble Sleeping Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Gad)

    Anxiety is a common emotion from time to time; however, persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worrying are signs of generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is diagnosed when a person worries more days than not for at least six months and has symptoms like fatigue, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

    With long-term care, symptoms can be controlled with talk therapy, medication, and self-care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, general anxiety (stress), irritability, nausea
    Symptoms that always occur with generalized anxiety disorder (gad):
    general anxiety (stress)
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Premenstrual Syndrome

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a very common condition. PMS has a variety of symptoms including cramping, mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, breast tenderness & depression.

    Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can last all the way into menopause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, anxiety, constipation, depressed mood, breast pain
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual syndrome:
    constant sadness, severe sadness, post-menopausal
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Recurrent Depression

    Depression, once diagnosed, can often recur with new episodes. Sometimes these episodes can be similar to ones in the past, sometimes the symptoms can be different. It's good to be aware off the fact that people who had a depression before, remain vulnerable.

    Depression's course is highly variable, and it may last weeks, months, or years.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, headache, stomach bloating
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Symptoms of Menopause

    Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.

    Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the upper airway is obstructed during sleep, which causes poor sleep quality and frequent awakening.

    Sleep apnea is a lifelong condition but symptoms can be well managed with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with obstructive sleep apnea:
    snoring or apneas
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Acute Stress Disorder

    Acute stress disorder describes changes in one's mood or memory for less than a month following an emotional or traumatic event.

    Acute stress disorder generally lasts days to 1 month.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with acute stress disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Trouble Sleeping

Here are some frequently asked questions about trouble sleeping.

Why do I have trouble sleeping at night but not during the day?

A lot of things can cause trouble sleeping at night but not during the day. This can occur if you have a job that requires night shifts, leading to a change in sleep habits called “shift work sleep disorder.” Additionally, chronically poor sleep hygiene and sleep habits can lead to this symptom. Some other things that may cause trouble sleeping at night and daytime sleepiness include stress, depression, concussion, dementia, and some chronic systemic diseases.

Can stress cause trouble sleeping?

Yes, stress commonly causes trouble sleeping. When you are stressed, your body is in “fight or flight” mode — you are wide awake, your heart is racing, and you cannot settle down. While some stress is good, too much stress leaves you hyper-aroused and will make it difficult to relax and fall into a deep sleep. Worse, you can become even more stressed about your inability to sleep, further compounding the stress. Stress reduction techniques are often used by sleep therapists to help people fall asleep.

Why do I have trouble sleeping after drinking alcohol?

Alcohol use does not reduce the duration of your sleep, but it is known to significantly reduce its quality. Sleep is complicated with various stages and a specific architecture that must occur to ensure you feel well-rested and function optimally during the day. Alcohol use or withdrawal from alcohol dependence may disrupt the regenerative rapid eye movement (REM) stage of your sleep and leave you feeling groggy and exhausted.

Why do I have trouble sleeping when I have my period?

The time around your period is marked by significant shifts in the reproductive system hormones. These hormones have a variety of effects on your body, both physical and mental. Alterations in estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to you having difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. These shifts can cause mood changes as well, which may also diminish sleep.

Is trouble sleeping a sign of early pregnancy?

Many women find they have difficulty sleeping during pregnancy. This is usually due to hormonal fluctuations which disturb your ability to sleep as well as physical discomforts. Trouble sleeping, however, can occur as a result of many conditions. If you suspect you are pregnant, you should consider taking a pregnancy test or visiting your healthcare provider.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Trouble Sleeping

  • Q.Are you feeling irritable (easily made upset)?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Are you having difficulty concentrating or thinking through daily activities?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our trouble sleeping symptom checker to find out more.

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Trouble Sleeping Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced trouble sleeping have also experienced:

    • 7% Fatigue
    • 3% Headache
    • 3% Nausea
  • People who have experienced trouble sleeping were most often matched with:

    • 6% Premenstrual Syndrome
    • 4% Recurrent Depression
    • 4% Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Gad)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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