What are some factors that can cause sleep problems?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If you are having a hard time sleeping, let's narrow down what might be causing your sleeping difficulties.
  • Weight: Are you overweight? You may be having trouble getting comfortable in bed. Be sure that your head and neck are supported. Consider pillows behind your lower back or between your knees to alleviate any pressure.
  • Pain: Do you have chronic pain? Whether you have muscle pain, joint pain, or headaches, talk to your doctor about what you can do to soothe the pain at night so you can sleep. Sleeping will help you heal faster.
  • Food: Are you sensitive to certain foods? Perhaps allergic? Consider whether what you're eating and drinking is causing your symptoms.
  • Illness: Do you feel sick? Not quite yourself? Have you had a checkup recently? Your doctor will help you learn whether you are anemic, have chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, a thyroid problem, or have another ailment that disrupts sleeping patterns.
  • Medications: Which medications are you taking? Call your pharmacist and ask if your medications—or a combination of your medications—are causing your sleeping issues.
  • Sleep Aids and Cold Medications: Are you taking a sleeping medication to help you sleep? Some people are sensitive to cold medications and sleep aids, which may cause your sleep quality to drop.
  • Depression: Do you have something to look forward to each day? Are you feeling overwhelmed or challenged by something you know can't get better? Are funny things not so funny right now? Depression can really mess with your sleep.
  • Alcohol: Are you drinking more than one or two drinks per night?
  • Pregnancy: Are you pregnant? Pregnant people often have difficulties with sleep.
  • Life: Do you have an irregular sleep schedule? Are you not eating well or getting enough exercise? Is your bedroom cool, dark, calm, and comfortable or is it bright, loud, interruptive, or stimulating? You may need to optimize your lifestyle.
Narrowing down the cause of your sleeping difficulties will help you eliminate or manage it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.