Having difficulty sleeping and not sure why?

As children, we’re all told about the importance of a good night’s sleep. As we grow into adult lives filled with jobs, families, school and relationships, lack of sleep seems almost inevitable for success.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refer to our insufficient amount of sleep as a “public health epidemic,” reporting that 33.5 percent of people surveyed in a recent sleep study got less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Do you suffer from a major lack of sleep? Find out what the most common causes are and how to prevent them:

What are You Worrying About?

Stress and anxiety caused by problems at work, school and home can cause the inability to fall and stay asleep, as can a past or present infestation of bed bugs or any sleep-related phobia or fear. Make time to calm yourself and relax before attempting sleep. Activities like yoga and meditation can transition the body from a stressed to relaxed state, too.

You’re Exhausted

Have you ever been so tired that you can’t seem to sleep? “Contrary to what people think, being exhausted doesn’t necessarily make people sleep better,” Thomas Roth, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, told WebMD.com. The doctor explains that sleep is still a body process that requires some work, and when you push your body too hard, you may have difficultly falling into the sleep cycle. Don’t mistake this with getting some mild exercise, which actually promotes sleep.

Dr. Eve Van Cauter, a sleep researcher and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, agrees. She told the Chicago Tribune that overworking can lead to both emotional and physical deterioration, throwing off your cardiac rhythm and causing gastrointestinal issues which may keep you awake.

Bed Guests

Small children and the snoring, tossing and turning from your sleeping partner are common causes of a poor night’s sleep. However, have you considered your pet may be keeping you awake?

Mayo Clinic director John Shepard told ScienceDaily.com that pets sometimes deprive their owners of sleep. Shepard surveyed 300 patients, and of those who were pet owners, 53 percent claimed their pets cause sleep disturbances. Pets can be on different sleeping schedules than their owners, oftentimes waking up before the sun rises. Keep your pet out of your bedroom if he wakes you too early or keeps you up at night.

Vitamins, Supplements and Medications

Has a recent diagnosis required you take new medication or supplements? According to WebMD.com, many common medications and supplements contain ingredients that cause sleep loss. Drugs like steroids and beta-blockers can keep users up, while painkillers like opiates can cause sleep apnea. The site also reported that botanical supplements (like ginseng) and vitamins (like B12 and B6) are known to keep people awake. Be sure to check labels and don’t take supplements with these ingredients before going to bed.

Learn more about the functions of sleep in this video: