Surprising Things That Could Be Keeping You Up at Night

things that could be keeping you awake

There are many things that could be keeping you up at night, such as stress, a noisy neighbor or a snoring partner. But there are some things that you could be ingesting during your waking day that are unknowingly keeping you up at night.

Vitamins and Minerals

spilled multivitamins

Countless Americans take multivitamins in an effort to improve their health, but what few people know is that it could actually be hurting one area extremely important to health — their sleep.

According to the New York Times, a 2007 study in which participants kept sleep diaries for two weeks showed that those who took multivitamins had a higher rate of poor or interrupted sleep. Another study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2009 backed this up by reporting that vitamin takers are more likely to have disturbed sleep, insomnia or persistent problems sleeping.

While the reasoning behind this is not entirely clear, there are several things that have proven to be true and that could be leading to this lack of sleep. First, these vitamins could be throwing off your body's sleep cycle. The wake/sleep cycle is controlled by a specific balance of neurotransmitters and when vitamins and minerals are added, it can slightly throw off that balance. B vitamins have also been shown to increase the vividness of dreams which can cause an individual to awake, startled, or can produce very clear and often frightening nightmares.

When taken for a specific medical need or deficit, vitamins can also be extremely helpful; however, the overuse of numerous multivitamins may unknowingly lead to sleep problems.


Vitamins are not the only pills that may interrupt your sleep patterns. Other seemingly normal medications can be causes of insomnia, restlessness, or trouble falling asleep. According to the Mayo Clinic Foundation, some prescription medications can be a common cause of insomnia. This includes some anti-depressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications and stimulants. These are medications that you should not stop abruptly or without a doctor's supervision. Please ask your doctor whether the specific medication you are taking may be contributing to sleep disruptions before attempting to stop taking any prescribed medications.

Certain over-the-counter drugs like pain medicines, decongestants and weight loss pills may contain stimulants including caffeine. Others, such as antihistamines (including Benedryl or Tylenol PM), may cause urinary retention which prevents complete bladder emptying, causing you to wake up to use the restroom throughout the night.

Caffeine, Nicotine, Alcohol

coffee beans as a source of caffeine

We've said it before, but we'll say it again: caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can lead to a restless night's sleep. Having a glass of wine or a "night cap" is a common practice for some, as is drinking multiple cups of coffee throughout the day. As the Mayo Clinic finds in research on causes of insomnia, these practices prevent deeper stages of sleep and often cause you to awaken in the middle of the night. To avoid these problems, enjoy a glass of wine/beer or a cup of coffee with dinner at least two to three hours before sleep rather than just before bedtime.

Smokers should be aware that nicotine is a also stimulant and may cause insomnia too. If you smoke, make your last cigarette within the same span of time (two to three hours) before you go to bed.

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