Sleep Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about sleep.

What causes insomnia?

Certified Nurse Practitioner Rhoda Chamberlain discusses causes of insomnia. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What causes insomnia?

So insomnia is a very common complaint in primary care. There's several different things that can contribute to it. Basically, insomnia is when people have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep. Many times it can be something big that's gone on in their life, they're starting a new job, they have a big test or something the next day, or they've had the death of a loved one, something life altering. But, other times it can be medication related. Steroids for one, alcohol, caffeine, all can contribute to having trouble sleeping.


Insomnia is when you have trouble falling or staying asleep. It can happen to everyone once in awhile, but if you often have trouble sleeping or waking too early, or if it goes on for weeks, you should talk to your doctor.

Many things can cause you to sleep poorly: pain, depression, medication or sleep disorders. But the most common cause of insomnia is poor sleep habits (called sleep hygiene). Lifestyle factors like drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, keeping an erratic sleep schedule, reading or watching TV in bed can all cost you important rest.  

Tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
  • Get some sunlight and exercise each day (but don’t exercise within two hours
    of bedtime).
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants, including nicotine.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals at night, especially near bedtime.
  • Wind down with a relaxing bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, meditate, do yoga or breathe deeply.
  • Make sure your room is dark and comfortable.
  • Help your body associate bed with sleeping by not reading or watching TV in bed.
  • Ask your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you’re taking. Many medications for colds, allergies, depression and anxiety can disrupt your sleep.
  • If these tips don’t help, your doctor may want to run a blood test to see if you could have a thyroid problem, anemia (low red blood cell count) or another health problem.

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Mansi Amin, MD, SureCare Medical Center; Nicholas Davis, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Irina Gendler, MD, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Aaron Kaibas, DO, Upper Valley Cardiology; Christopher Lauricella, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Angela Long-Prentice, MD, Northwest Dayton Physicians; Erin Mathews, MD, Vandalia Medical Center; Katrina Paulding, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Tammy Taylor, MD, The Pediatric Group; Dori Thompson, MD, Springboro Family Medicine; Pam Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care; J. Layne Moore, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Mark Ringle, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians; Michael Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Rhoda Chamberlain, APRN, CNP, Jamestown Family Medicine; Nicholas Davis, MD, Jamestown Family Medicine

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