Can Demons Cause Insomnia?

I have cast demons out of people and part of their deliverance was their new freedom from insomnia.

There’s a story in the Bible of a demon causing insomnia. This is the case of King Saul.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll define insomnia as a sleep disorder that may deny or interrupt sleep for a short- or long-term, and may respectively be diagnosed by a medical professional (which I am not) as acute or chronic. We are talking about anywhere from one night to months or even years of bad sleep.

Now let’s explore demonically-induced insomnia by first looking at King Saul’s insomnia.

Demon Causes King Saul To Have Insomnia

Insomnia can be caused by a host of things. Medical conditions, alcohol use, extreme emotions, caffeine, worry. The list goes on.

King Saul definitely had a bad case of extreme emotions and worry. But the Bible takes us behind the scenes into the spiritual realm to reveal the primary cause of his insomnia.

It was a demon.

The king’s immediate journey into sleeplessness began the day the Spirit of the Lord left him for his disobedience. It appears that shortly thereafter, perhaps even the same day, a demon was granted permission by God to distress the king.

But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Samuel 16:14

This is not the first time in Scripture we see a demon being granted special limited authority to attack someone. Satan was granted limited authority to attack Job (Job 1:1-22; 2:1-7). He also was granted limited authority to attack King Ahab (1 Kings 22:1-23).

Demon Caused Insomnia Through Supernatural Distress

The Bible often reveals a demon’s primary function (at least at that time) by providing its name. For instance, in Luke 13:10-16 Jesus heals a woman of a crippling condition. But the Bible says that behind the medical condition, it was a “spirit of infirmity” that caused her disability.

King Saul was attacked by a spirit of distress that caused him immense mental torment. It was so bad that even his servants discerned this was the work of a demon.

It is not explicitly revealed that the king had insomnia. Yet it is reasonable to assume this was one of the by-products of the attack. Here are the reasons for my assumption:

  • First, it was a spirit of distress. The Bible’s narrative of the king’s life gives us reason to believe this attack was limited to the mental realm. It was not a demon of physical sickness. Nonetheless, mental illness can be as debilitating as any physical illness.

    I raise the bar from mental distress to mental illness for good reason. The Bible’s narrative of King Saul from the point of the demon entering his life to the day of his death describes a man subject to extreme mood swings that were totally out of control.

    These mood swings included extreme suspicion, worry, fear, jealousy, envy, and rage.

    Even as a non-doctor, it’s not going out on a limb to say King Saul in our day would probably be diagnosed as having a mental illness. (What would not be diagnosed in his case is the spiritual cause, which was a demon.)

    Outside of these extremes was the baseline distress that was episodically severely troubling and taking him into a state of heightened nervousness and exhaustion.

    We know this was his state because of how the Bible describes him whenever the demon left: “refreshed and well” (1 Samuel 16:23). I’m thinking refreshed definitely includes rested.
  • Second, illnesses don’t turn off at bedtime. Anyone with a diagnosed mental illness can testify that their condition often robs them of sleep. According to WebMD, “Psychiatric disorders are the leading cause of insomnia, the inability to sleep.”

    King Saul had previously received temporary relief when David played a soothing instrument in his presence. But months later King Saul had grown worse. So his chances of getting rest had greatly diminished.

    Plus, there is a telling piece of information in 1 Samuel 19:9-10. We find that during one of the king’s fits, he tried to kill David: “So David fled and escaped that night.

    That night.

    David ran out into the night because he was at the king’s place at night trying to help this man get some sleep by playing his instrument. It didn’t work. And in a rage, he threw a spear at David.

    That’s insomnia…

    And, of course, it’s also attempted murder.

Is All Insomnia Caused By Demons?

We know King Saul’s insomnia was caused by a demon because it’s written in the Bible. But deliverance ministers don’t have that luxury when someone asks for ministry to get rid of insomnia.

One response would be to immediately assume this is the work of a demon. After all, the Scripture says, “The thief comes not but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy,” (John 10:10). Right? Sleep is being stolen. It must be a demon.

Or what about…?

It’s a medical fact that psychiatric disorders cause most insomnia. And since psychiatric disorders are caused by demons, that means all insomnia is caused by demons. Come out, you devil!

Not so fast, champ. Life is not that simple.

What would you think of a doctor who you meet for the first time. You tell her you’re having a little discomfort in your abdomen. She immediately recommends removal of 18 inches of your small intestines.

A minute later you’re in your car burning rubber getting as far away from this maniac as possible, aren’t you? Why? Isn’t there a possibility that you need to have some intestines removed?

Yep. Statistically speaking, there’s a tiny possibility. But how do we go from a 30-second conversation to such a radical diagnosis? Isn’t that premature and irresponsible?

You’re being nice. I’m thinking this doctor’s one hundred percent psycho.

Well…about that quick insomnia fix.

I’m not saying it’s psycho to claim all insomnia is caused by a demon and can be fixed by casting it out. But it certainly falls into the premature category.

As I stated earlier insomnia can be caused by natural things such as too much caffeine close to bedtime. That’s clearly not a demon.

Similarly, a demon could push a person to drink alcohol or to worry. This may incidentally lead to insomnia. But even this is not a demon of insomnia. It’s a secondary condition of insomnia caused by the primary behavior of alcohol use or worry.

The point is that not all insomnia is directly or indirectly caused by a demon. Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn’t.

What If Your Insomnia Is Caused By A Demon?

Simple. Cast it out.

Okay, I admit I’m being a bit matter-of-fact and simplistic. But the truth is if you are facing a demon, the answer is to cast it out. Of course, the difficulty is in determining whether or not the insomnia is caused by a demon, and then dealing with any legal rights he may have to be there.

It isn’t the intent of this article to go into the depths of how to test for the presence of demons. But I can briefly state that if you have tried everything else and nothing helps, it may prove invaluable to treat your insomnia as a demon.

Honestly, I routinely assume the possibility of demons early in the process. It’s one of the reasons why I see a lot of good stuff happen sooner rather than later!

When you do this, either something will happen or nothing will happen. So there doesn’t need to be a lot of unproductive what-if calculations done before you go this route. Just do it and see what happens.

Practically speaking, if it were me I’d make sure there’s no purely natural reason contributing to the insomnia. This being proven, I’d deal with it spiritually.

If I feel the problem is spiritual, I’d try to determine whether there’s an underlying natural cause that a demon may be aggravating. If so, I’d deal with a situation as part natural, part demonic.

In these cases, it’s necessary to deal with the underlying condition first. Otherwise, the spirit of insomnia will have a legal right to remain.

For instance, we certainly don’t need a demon to get us to drink a cup of coffee. But there is such a thing as a demon of addiction. Is this person being pushed by such a spirit into drinking too much caffeine, which in turn causes him difficulty in falling asleep?

If so, the real problem is not insomnia. It’s only a symptom of the problem. The real problem is the caffeine, and if we drill deeper, we see that behind the caffeine is a demon who is supernaturally fueling the habit of drinking coffee.

Similarly, it’s difficult to fall asleep if you’re eaten up with worry. So, is the problem insomnia? Or is it worry? Do we need to cast out a demon of insomnia? Maybe. But if you don’t get rid of the worry, be prepared to repeatedly cast out returning demons of insomnia until you get rid of the real problem, which is worry.

Bottom line: if there is a demon of insomnia, cast it out. But make sure the insomnia is the problem, and not simply a symptom of the problem.


It is not the intent of this article to suppose that all insomnia or mental illness is necessarily directly or indirectly caused by demons. Each case must be evaluated and judged on its own merits.

Neither does this article suppose that caffeine use is inherently bad or linked to demonic activity. Anything can become an addiction if we allow it.

Some of Eric’s Spiritual Warfare Novels

  1. The Spirit of Rejection
  2. The Spirit of Fear
  3. The Spirit of Ugly

Eric’s Non-Fiction Books About Demons

  1. Deliverance from Demons and Diseases
  2. Mistakes We Make When Casting Out Demons

Other Articles Related to Demons

  1. If You Don’t Believe Christians Can Have Demons…
  2. 10 Mistakes We Make When Casting Out Demons
  3. How Much Should You Pay For A Demon to Be Cast Out?
  4. Can Demons Cause Sickness?
  5. Can Demons Cause Seizures?
  6. The Spirit of Fear
  7. The Spirit of Rejection

Eric M Hill

Eric M Hill is an author, blogger, YouTuber, and Bible teacher. He has written sixteen books. He is a member of the Authors Guild and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

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