Insomnia - Who Is at Risk for Insomnia? - Risk Factors

You may have a higher risk of insomnia because of your age, family history and genetics, environment or occupation (work), lifestyle, stress or worrying about sleep, or your sex.


Insomnia can occur at any age but your chances of having it increase as you get older.

Family history and genetics

Your genes may raise your risk of insomnia, as insomnia sometimes runs in families. Your genes may also affect whether you are a deep or light sleeper.

Environment or occupation

The following can disturb your sleep–wake cycle:

  • Shift or night work
  • Noise or light during the night
  • Uncomfortably high or low temperatures
  • Traveling frequently to different time zones


Lifestyle habits can raise your risk of sleep problems.

  • Following an irregular sleep schedule or changing your normal routine often
  • Experiencing interruptions in your sleep, such as waking up often to care for a baby
  • Frequently taking long naps during the day
  • Getting too little physical activity during the day
  • Using caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or illegal drugs
  • Watching TV or using electronic devices close to your bedtime


Stress or worrying about school or work, relationships, money, or the death of a loved one raises the risk of insomnia.

Worrying about whether you will get enough sleep and monitoring the clock can also raise your risk of insomnia or make it worse.


Insomnia is more common in women than in men. Feeling uncomfortable and experiencing hormones changes during pregnancy and menopause can cause problems with sleep.