Why Can't I Sleep?

Do you find it difficult to go to sleep irrespective of what you do or how hard you try? Do you find it hard to get to sleep even when you are tired? If you somehow manage to sleep, do you wake up again in the middle of the night finding it difficult to go back to sleep? You may be asking yourself why. All this could happen when you have insomnia. This common problem can affect your mood, energy, and ability to work during the day. It can also lead to serious health problems.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

So many factors can affect the quality of your sleep. You have to identify the underlying cause and address it to sleep better. Here are some possible reasons why you may be having a hard time getting to sleep.

1. Your Lifestyle Affects Your Sleep

Many lifestyle factors can affect the quality of your sleep. Many people use nicotine later in the day, which can affect their ability to wind down and get to sleep. You may also get up several times during the night. The same happens when you ingest caffeine later in the day. You should not have any caffeinated beverage after 6pm to avoid having sleep difficulties.

2. You Are Under Stress

Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also affect the time you spend in deep sleep. Since you will be in lighter phases of sleep, it is easy to wake up in the middle of the night because of noise or light.

3. Your Room Is Not Dark Enough

Why can't I sleep? Have a look at your room and see how bright it is at night. You need to understand that light levels affect the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone that helps you fall asleep with ease. Strong light can affect the release of this hormone and leave you awake all night. You should keep your room dark and ensure you do not use laptop, mobile, or other devices before going to bed.

4. You Take Daytime Naps

It is true that daytime naps work for some people, but they may make it difficult for some people to sleep at night. If you find it difficult to sleep at night, avoid napping during the day. It may help you sleep better at night. Consider taking a short walk or do something else when you feel tired during the day and have the urge to take a nap.

5. Your Sleep Schedule Is Irregular

Why can’t I sleep? It could be due to your sleep schedule. You are likely to sleep better if you stick to certain sleep schedule. An irregular sleeping pattern can make it difficult to sleep, which is probably the reason why poor sleep is a common issue in shift workers with changing working hours. If you have an irregular sleep schedule, you are at a greater risk of experiencing sleep disturbance, work-related accidents, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems, and even breast cancer.

6. You Take Certain Medications

You may find it difficult to sleep if you are taking certain prescription drugs, such as corticosteroids stimulants for ADHD, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, thyroid hormone, and some contraceptives. Some OTC cold and flu medications can also cause the same issue. Diuretics, pain relievers that contain caffeine, and slimming pills may also interfere with sleep.

7. You Have an Underlying Condition

Your sleep pattern may get affected when you have an underlying medical condition. Certain conditions that contribute to insomnia are acid reflux, asthma, Parkinson's disease, allergies, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Chronic pain can also lead to insomnia.

8. You Have Hormonal Imbalance

Many women find it difficult to sleep before or during period because of fluctuating levels of progesterone and estrogen. It can also happen throughout perimenopause. You may find it difficult to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

What to Do If You Can't Sleep

Why can't I sleep? You already know that several factors may be at work here, but you can take some steps to improve the quality of your sleep. Here are some suggestions:

For Falling Asleep

  • Have a nighttime routine and spend at least half an hour doing something relaxing. You can read a book, take a shower, or try something else.
  • Do not use electronic devices, such as phones, laptops, and tablets before going to bed. The light from these devices can keep your brain alert and make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Try breathing and other relaxation exercises to manage stress and make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Do not keep lying in your bed if you fail to fall asleep in 20 minutes. Go to another room for a while or do something relaxing, such as listening to music or reading. It will become increasingly difficult to fall asleep if you lie in bed awake.
  • Set a specific sleep schedule and be sure to wake up at the same time in the morning. You should do it even if you fail to sleep at the same time at night. This helps your body adjust itself according to your schedule.

For Getting Back to Sleep

  • Do not take any caffeine in the afternoon or evening. You should also avoid alcohol too close to bedtime because these beverages can cause dehydration and make you wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Keep your sleep environment comfortable and free of disturbances. Ensure your room is dark; use darkening shades if you have to. Try a noise machine or fan to block sounds.
  • Try a breathing exercise if you wake up during the night.
  • Do not stay in your bed if you fail to fall back asleep after 20 minutes. Go to another room or try something that helps relax your mind.

For Avoiding Waking Up Too Early

  • Keep your sleep environment comfortable and dark. It should be quiet as well. If there are streetlights, make use of darkening shades. To deal with noise, use earplugs or opt for a noise machine.
  • Learn to use breathing exercises to help relax your mind. 
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