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Why Do Millennials Have Trouble Sleeping?

Why Do Millennials Have Trouble Sleeping?

Technology has not only changed the way we communicate but also in the way we live. The time that we spend on our gadgets has become of great concern, and many of the millennial sleep problems that people are experiencing are greatly linked to this. Why are millennials having a harder time sleeping?

The Millennials

People, between 1981 and 1996, belong to the millennial generation or also known as Generation Y. In 2019, the youngest of millennials turned 23, while the oldest turned 38.

Compared to the previous generation, referred to as Generation X, millennials are more connected and are more openly educated. Millennials are more adept at using technology, as they are more aware of what is happening in the different sectors of the community. They are known to be vocal about equality and other reforms that they believe will positively affect the world.

Despite their positivity, millennials are still considered the most stressed and anxious generation. These factors are the main reasons for millennial sleep problems.

Millennial Sleep Problems: Why is Their Sleep Affected?

Sleep is an important state where our bodies recover from all the stress it has sustained throughout the day. It is our body’s time to grow and repair muscles and tissues. Sleep also refreshes our minds and gives us energy the next day.

Factors that Cause Millennial Sleep Problems

It is normal to have a hard time sleeping if there are several things that are keeping you awake. However, having difficulty with sleeping regularly is not healthy. Millennials suffer from different sleeping problems because of the following factors:

Anxiety and depression

Millennials have been raised in a time when technology has become a strong presence in their lives, from childhood to adulthood.

While technology and social media may have their benefits, it is also true that these have become factors in creating a more stressful environment. Due to social media and the internet, individuals may feel more pressure and a greater need for validation. These are some of the reasons that may lead to growing anxiety and depression in millennials.


Another factor that causes millennial sleep problems is stress. Millennials, according to the American Psychological Association, get stressed because of work, as well as financial and job stability.

Being stressed affects your quality of sleep, and consequently, your bodily functions. When you are having trouble sleeping, it might also aggravate your stress level, and the cycle continues.

Being overworked

Spending too much time at work could also contribute to millennial sleep problems. According to a survey conducted by Project: Time Off and GfK, millennials would like to be tagged as “workaholics,” because it will make a great impression on how they do their job. Millennials work for 9 to 10 hours a day in the office and still do more work at home, sacrificing meal and family time, as well as their sleep.

Instead of sleeping, millennials worry about their work, their deadlines, as well as the advancement of their careers.

Staying up late

Millennials tend to stay up all night to either finish their work, scroll online, or just chill. Caffeine is one of their main sources of energy to avoid sleepiness. However, drinking caffeinated beverages a few hours before going to bed can affect a person’s sleeping pattern.

Although caffeine helps in reducing tiredness and boosting energy, it may negatively affect your sleep as well as your body. Caffeine stays in your system for hours, making it difficult for you to get proper sleep. Taking caffeine late at night may also result in conditions such as acid reflux, heartburn, and palpitations.

Eating late

Eating late at night also contributes to millennial sleep problems because digestion slows down during sleeping hours. Being full at night may also give you heartburn, making it more difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep.


Taking certain medications can also lead to millennial sleep problems. Medications such as cold medicines and some antidepressants include sleeplessness as their side effect.

To those millennials who are diagnosed with anxiety and depression, some of them may encounter sleeping problems as part of their mental problem. Furthermore, antidepressants can also alter their sleeping habits, making them harder to get sleep.

There is still not enough research to back up why certain antidepressants cause sleeplessness.

Sleep Disorders and Problems

Lack of quality sleep will have a great impact on your overall health. When you have trouble sleeping at night, you become sluggish and irritable in the morning.

These indicate that you might be suffering from sleep disorders and problems like:

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep condition where you have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep throughout the night. This sleeping condition may also trigger your body to suddenly wake up in the middle of your sleeping hours. Afterward, you may have difficulty going back to sleep.

2. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a more serious sleeping problem wherein your breathing may stop while you are asleep. This causes you to wake up, but you are unaware of it. You will feel the effect of sleep apnea once you wake up in the morning. You would feel tired, sleepy, irritable, depressed, and it will also slow down your productivity.

3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, this sleeping disorder causes an uncomfortable tingly sensation on the legs, which triggers uncontrollable movement or restless leg syndrome. RLS disrupts sleep and can keep you awake all night.

4. Narcolepsy

This sleeping disorder results in recurring sleepiness in the daytime. If you have narcolepsy, you may experience “sleep attacks” or suddenly falling asleep throughout the day. Narcolepsy can interfere with your daily routine, as well as your productivity.

5. Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)

SWSD is a sleeping problem experienced by people who work at night and who sleep in the daytime. Millennials who work at night or continuously work throughout the night are more susceptible to this millennial sleep disorders such as SWSD.

6. Delayed sleep phase disorder

This disorder delays your body clock, which results in you sleeping at later hours compared to the normal sleeping time. This condition prohibits you from sticking to a normal routine and will make you struggle to keep up with your work or school hours

Tips to manage sleeping problems

Here are some steps you can do to manage your millennial sleep problems:

  • Create a sleeping schedule. Stick to a daily routine to help your body quickly adjust and slowly overcome your sleeping problem.
  • Avoid caffeine. Caffeine boosts your energy, meaning you stay awake even if your body clock says it is time for bed. Do not force yourself to stay awake by drinking caffeinated beverages.
  • Eat dinner, but smaller amounts. Sleeping on an empty stomach and eating too much at night can cause discomfort while you sleep. Eat less at nighttime so that your digestive system is not overwhelmed.
  • Your bedroom must be an exclusive space for sleeping. Try not to work in your bedroom. Designate your bedroom just for relaxation and sleeping. This helps train the mind in thinking that once inside your bedroom, you must sleep.
  • Meditate. Meditation can help relax your mind, allowing you to sleep more soundly. This will also help you wake up in a good mood, and be more productive and happy the whole day.

If you suffer from a chronic sleeping disorder, it is best to consult your doctor.

The Best Breathing Exercises for Stress and Anxiety

Key Takeaways

Millennials are considered the most sleep-deprived generation as they suffer from numerous millennial sleep problems. Remember to not take your body for granted, and ensure that you get proper hours of sleep.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/ Accessed June 18, 2020

Millennial Life: How Young Adulthood Today Compares with Prior Generations https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/millennial-life-how-young-adulthood-today-compares-with-prior-generations/ Accessed June 18, 2020

Romanian Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnosis Volume 5, Issue 1-2 – Millennials and Anxiety: An Exploration Into Social Networking Sites as a Predisposing Factor http://www.rjcbth.ro/image/data/v5-12/V5I1-2_Article%202_RJCBTH_2018.pdf Accessed June 18, 2020

Stress by Generation https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2012/generations Accessed June 18, 2020

International Journal of Advanced Microbiology and Health Research Volume 3, Issue 1 – Chronic Overworking: Cause Extremely Negative Impact on Health and Quality of Life https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bhairav_Prasad/publication/333746827_Chronic_Overworking_Cause_Extremely_Negative_Impact_on_Health_and_Quality_of_Life/ Accessed June 18, 2020

Millennials are Actually Workaholics, According to Research https://hbr.org/2016/08/millennials-are-actually-workaholics-according-to-research Accessed June 18, 2020

Sleep Disorders https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/sleep-disorders Accessed June 18, 2020

Sleep Disorders https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354018 Accessed June 18, 2020

Sleep Disorders and Problems https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-disorders-and-problems.htm Accessed June 18, 2020

Sleep Tips: 6 Steps to Better Sleep https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379 Accessed June 18, 2020

Twelve Simple Steps to Improve Your Sleep http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips Accessed June 18, 2020


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Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao Updated May 26
Medically reviewed by Mike-Kenneth Go Doratan, M.D.