You’ve had an incredibly long day. You’re dying to change into your pajamas and tuck yourself into bed and get a good night’s rest. The moment you do, you find yourself tossing and turning just like last night.
Your mind begins to wander as you over-analyze things. You begin to panic as you observe the clock. It’s getting later, and you’re exhausted, but you cannot keep your eyes shut.
“Why can’t I sleep?” You ask over and over again. You aren’t the only one facing this common dilemma. 50-70 million people in the US suffer from some sort of sleeping disorder, whether temporary or chronic. These don’t include everyone else around the world facing sleeping problems.
You might even be frustrated, as you try to do everything possible during the day to gain a good night’s rest when it’s time for bed but, something doesn’t add up. No matter how hard you try, your sleeping problems persist, and you don’t know what to do anymore.
In this article, we will discuss eight common causes of your sleeping issues and possible solutions that could help.
1. Why Can’t I Sleep: Turn off Your Devices
What’s the first thing we do when we wake up? The same thing we do right before we go to bed. We check our phones or any other devices we have.
We scroll through our social media feed, liking, commenting, posting, or sharing things with others, and next thing you know, you’ve spent a good thirty minutes on your phone. It can be addicting, and you want to put your phone down, but then you refresh your page, and you have to see what’s new.
This is a huge contribution to sleeping problems. The blue light that our screens transmit tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime and increases our alertness. This means the melatonin levels begin to decrease. The lower our melatonin levels, the harder it will be for us to sleep.
This is probably the number one issue for people who can’t sleep. So, set your phone or any other device on airplane mode 30 minutes before your bedtime. Disconnect from it completely, and don’t touch it until the following day.
Try to leave it in another room or in a place that isn’t easily accessible. You might feel tempted to get a last glance at your phone before going to bed, and that’ll compromise your sleep cycle once again.
Another option is to purchase special blue light glasses. The lenses implemented in these glasses limit the amount of blue light exposure to your eyes, which prevents digital strain and can reduce the risk of the negative side effects of blue light.
2. Why Can’t I Sleep: Long Naps Late in the Day
Of course, if you’re not getting enough sleep during the night, then chances are you’re going to want to take a good, long nap the following day. As lovely as naps are, this could be an underlying reason for your sleep deprivation.
Naps are great and can bring good benefits to one’s health. Sometimes, naps can help you catch up with the lack of sleep from the night before. They can also relieve heavy drowsiness or sleepiness and, if taken during the right time of the day, can contribute to a good night’s rest.
However, naps that are relatively close to bedtime, and longer than 30-40 minutes, might make it even more difficult to fall asleep later, as you didn’t give your mind and body enough time to build up the urge to sleep again.
If you can’t live without your naps, no problem. Take them a little earlier in the day, and the shorter, the better. A nap shouldn’t be longer than 40 minutes.
3. Why Can’t I Sleep: Stressed Out
I cannot name one single person that isn’t stressed on this planet, especially during this year. Stress is like this massive block that prevents you from getting the sleep you need. Ironically, the less you sleep, the more you stress, and you find yourself falling into a vicious cycle.
What stress actually does is that it releases chemicals into your system, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase your heart rate and improve your performance when it comes to day-to-day tasks. They can be useful at times, but while lying in bed at night, all it’ll do is keep you up.
Not only does it affect your sleep, but in the long run, it can cause problems such as anxiety, depression, and TMJ, which then leads to jaw pain and dental issues.
During the day, find time to dedicate to a certain hobby you enjoy. Anything that you can do that will help you channel your stress, such as reading or painting.
Another activity that people have found helpful is mindful mediation. This technique involves taking 10-30 minutes of your time to surround yourself in a quiet setting where you only focus on what is taking place in the present. You allow yourself to focus on what you’re feeling or sensing without reacting to these things.
It also involves practicing breathing exercises that slower your heart beats and focusing on your present surroundings. This helps to push aside any racing thoughts that might be adding to the stress.
4. Why Can’t I Sleep: You’re Not Eating Right
Your diet plays a vital role in every part of your life, especially when it comes to sleep. It’s obvious that if we have a cup of coffee a couple of hours before bed, we won’t be getting much sleep. But, it’s not just the amount of caffeine we insert into our bodies.
It also depends on the saturated foods and sugars that we are eating daily and the amount of intake. Or perhaps we are having heavy dinners late at night. This gives our digestive system a lot of work to do, which will keep us up, tossing and turning in our beds.
Avoid having heavily spicy foods or anything that might be too intense for your digestive system to handle, especially late at night. Late dinners should be crossed out, and that includes midnight snacking. Create a schedule for yourself and be strict to eat on those specific time slots. Too much booze is also something that should be avoided.
Another great alternative is including some sleep enhancing vitamins in your diet. This is an easy way to give a double boost of melatonin and other vital nutrients in your regimen that will definitely give you quick improved results in your sleeping routines.
5. Why Can’t I Sleep: Not Exercising Enough
Exercising regularly can help increase what they call “sleep wave,” which is the deep sleep process that helps our brains restore itself and lower any levels of anxiety and stress. If you’re not exercising regularly, you’re probably a light sleeper, waking up during the night over any little noise.
Simple. Start working out more. That doesn’t mean you have to spend two hours at the gym every day. By going for a 30-minute walk every day or five days a week will help improve the quality of your sleep.
Just be sure to listen to your body. Some people work out a few hours before bed, and this pumps them up with energy, making it difficult for them to fall asleep, while for others, it just tires them out and helps them drift off easily when they get into bed. See what works for you.
6. Why Can’t I Sleep: Depression
A sign of sleep deprivation could be a symptom of depression. Not sleeping enough can actually worsen depression. The lack of sleep could be why you’re feeling depressed, and the more depressed you get, the more difficult it is to stabilize your sleeping habits.
Visit your doctor and express your concerns. List any other possible symptoms that could be signs of a possible depression. A correct diagnosis and medical prescription of some anti-depressants can put you back on the right track to sleeping better again.
7. Why Can’t I Sleep: Too Much Coffee
Coffee is a great way to wake you up in the morning, especially if you’re not an early bird. It’s a great stimulant and allows you to have that alertness you need for the day. But even for those who are supposedly immune to it, it can still be disruptive to your sleep without you even realizing it.
Try to lower your amount of coffee dosage each day. If you’re a regular coffee drinker and you like to have a couple of cups a day, cut it down to one or try alternating. Instead of having coffee every day, try every two days or so, and as early in the day as possible.
8. Why Can’t I Sleep: Confusing Your Mind
Perhaps you’ve gotten rid of the habit of looking through your devices before going to bed, which is great! You might now have a relaxing habit of reading, writing, or drawing once tucked in. Even though these activities are relaxing, they might be contributing to your sleepless nights.
By doing this, you’re practically tricking your brain into thinking that bedtime is relaxing leisure time, which keeps your brain awake.
Save those leisure activities for time you set aside before getting into bed instead of while tucked in. Train your brain into thinking that once you’re in bed, it’s time to sleep.
All you have to do is start putting these tips into practice, and before you know it, the famous “why can’t I sleep?” question won’t be in your vocabulary anymore.
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