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Common Causes of Sleep Problems

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Sleep problems can arise due to a number of issues, but identifying the cause of your restless nights is essential to improving sleep quality.

Once the cause of underlying sleep problems has been identified, seeking treatment is the next step toward better sleep.

Start a conversation with the hub.health medical team and take the first step toward a healthier you.

What causes problems with sleep?

When looking into what causes sleep problems, various factors come into play, ranging from mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression, to stress, lifestyle choices, irregular sleep schedules, physical illness and pain, medication use, environmental factors, neurological disorders, pregnancy, and other sleep disorders.

The Australia Sleep Health Foundation recommends adults sleep 7-9 hours a night. Despite Australian adults reporting an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night, 2 in 3 (66%) adults report at least one sleep problem and almost half of all adults report at least two sleep-related problems.

Whether it’s poor sleep quality or a medically diagnosed sleep disorder such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome or obstructive sleep apnoea, the leading cause of sleep problems is believed to be a state of hyperarousal that interferes with the body’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Hyperarousal can occur due to physical and mental causes and can be triggered by various environmental factors, lifestyle factors and health issues.

Physical causes

Any health condition that causes physical pain can contribute to the onset of sleep problems by causing discomfort that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

Other health issues that impact sleep quality and duration include those that affect the nervous or respiratory system, such as asthma.

Additionally, certain medications may cause sleeping problems and insomnia as a side effect, such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and asthma treatments.

Sleep Problems

Mental health and Environmental causes

Mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, are common causes of sleep problems. These psychological conditions are known for causing negative thoughts and mental hyperarousal that can interfere with a healthy sleep pattern. It’s estimated that 40% of people with insomnia have a mental health disorder.

Environmental factors have the potential to increase stimulation and cause hyperarousal that may cause trouble falling asleep as per the healthy cues of a natural sleep-wake cycle. Two of the most common environmental causes of sleeping problems are blue light exposure and noise pollution.

Lifestyle factors

Unhealthy dietary habits can heighten the risk of developing sleep problems in adults. Lifestyle factors related to the diet include eating too close to bedtime, consuming caffeine in the afternoon, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol – a sedative that causes disrupted, non-restorative sleep.

Other lifestyle factors that lead to sleeping difficulties include napping during the day, keeping the brain stimulated until late in the evening with electronic devices, sleeping late to make up for lost sleep, and using your bedroom for activities besides sleep. Shiftwork is another major factor that can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Sleep Causes

It’s time to look after your health

Regardless of what causes disrupted or restless sleep, several effective treatments are available to help fix sleeping problems.

At hub.health, our medical team will work with you to treat sleep problems with clinically proven sleep treatments, like melatonin.


Sleep FAQs

Am I guaranteed a prescription and sleep treatment?

hub.health doctors provide the highest standard of healthcare, assessing each patient on an individual basis. If our medical team determines a potential risk related to a specific sleep treatment, it will not be issued. Your doctor may provide recommendations for next steps, including in-person GP visits for further assessment.

Can I be prescribed stronger sleep treatments?

hub.health doctors cannot prescribe sleep treatments such as Benzodiazepines (benzos) as they are potentially habit-forming drugs. If you think you may need these, please speak to your local GP.

Can I speak with my assigned clinician at any time?

Of course! Our online platform enables ongoing support whenever you need it. To chat with your medical team, log into your profile, head to the ‘Products’ tab and select ‘Manage Treatment’. This is where you can message your clinician.

Our team is also available at [email protected] Drop us a line, anytime.


Discover more about the common causes for sleep disorders.

Learn about lifestyle factors and what you can do to get a good night’s sleep.

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Say goodnight to your sleep problems with effective treatments from hub.health.

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