Why Can’t I Fall Sleep?

Updated May 26, 2020

Sleep. The best friend and worst enemy of those who fails to have a healthy sleeping schedule. Sleep is extremely important and makes you more powerful.

But, sometimes, despite the fact that you feel exhausted, you just lie there in bed staring at the ceiling and praying to get some shut eyes. Why is that? Why do people have a hard time falling asleep?

Stress & Anxiety

A lot of the people who suffer from stress and anxiety will never admit to it. That’s probably because they see it as a sign of weakness when, the truth is, everybody has stressful periods at least once in their lifetime. And anxiety, by definition, is an irrational fear, meaning that it defies all logic and can cause many sleepless nights (if you’re a fan of making up improbable scenarios in your mind, you know what I’m talking about).

Stress and anxiety can lead to insomnia, one of the major causes that decrease the quality of a person’s sleep. There are many ways in which a person can deal with stress and anxiety. Daily yoga or meditation exercises can be extremely helpful, but crisis situations are best accompanied by therapy sessions.

Normally, therapy is an introspection process that helps people discover more about what causes their problems and, by getting to the root of the situation, they will have an easier time figuring out a proper solution, or eventually learn to be at peace with the things that are beyond their control.

Bedroom Settings

You would not believe how many items in your bedroom can prevent you from sleeping. But let’s take them one by one, starting with your bedding items. Some people are having a hard time sleeping or wake up feeling numb and tires because they are sleeping on the wrong kind of mattress.

While this isn’t a “how to choose a good mattress” tutorial, we still want to say this: mattresses are designed with different materials and firmness levels to cater to specific sleeping needs. What works for a 130-pound woman might not work for a 180-pound man. Depending on your age, weight, height, favorite sleeping position, or potential medical conditions, you have to pick a mattress that’s right for you.

How about the air inside the room? Sleeping in fresh air is the best possible idea, but you can’t sleep with the window open, or else it will create a draft and you can catch a cold. Keep the window open for about 30 minutes before going to bed, just to let some of that fresh air inside the bedroom.

Then, there’s the temperature. Science tells us that it’s best to sleep in a room that’s cooler, rather than turning up the heat as much as we can before going to bed.

Technology can also be your worst sleeping enemy, especially if you are the type of person who watches TV or spends time online before sleeping. The blue light emitted by our TVs and portable tech devices send a mixed signal to your brain which, instead of preparing for sleep, tells your body to stay awake.

Are you having trouble sleeping because all sorts of uncontrolled noises wake you up during the night? Studies have revealed that it’s not the volume of the noise that wakes you up, but rather the frequency. If you’re used to falling asleep with the TV on, then background noise is something you’re comfortable with. But with the next-door neighbor’s dog barking? Not so much. A white noise machine would really come in handy right about now.

Diet & Exercising

A mistake that’s fatal for your sleeping schedule is snacking before bedtime. If you have a craving that you must absolutely satisfy, considering eating or drinking something light like maybe a bowl of fruit or a glass of low-fat milk.

While a bag of chips sounds like a well-deserved treat, trying to sleep on a full stomach can potentially cause heartburn, while the proteins inside your digestive system cause it to overwork when it’s actually time for bed.

And speaking of diet, how about giving up that coffee that you were planning to drink in the afternoon? On average, a cup of coffee has enough caffeine to keep you active for five more hours, but it takes longer for some systems to completely eliminate caffeine.

The human body is the most complex machine in the world and sometimes defies all logic. Some people think that a workout before bed is the perfect way to drain what’s left of their batteries and will prepare them for a good night’s sleep.

Yes, a stroll around the park with your dog is a good idea, but intense cardio workout before bed? Not so much? What happens is the intense exercise bets your heart rate all pumped up, and it raises your body temperature way too much for you to actually be ready for nap time. Those of you looking for intense workouts would best schedule them in the morning or at lunch.

Alcohol & Medication

Sadly, sleep disorders can also be considered side effects to a list of drugs prescribed by your doctor. In such a case, there really isn’t much you can do except for talking to your doctor to see if there is some alternative medication which they can prescribe to eliminate this side effect.

Drinking one glass of wine before bedtime can be a good idea. Red wine is good for health, and it encourages blood circulation. But too much alcohol can interfere with a person’s REM sleep. This means that sleep is fragmented, especially if you wake up too often to go to the bathroom.

You may want to read: Some Solutions to Help You Sleep

Bottom Line

Truth is, this is a very complex subject and there are a lot of different reasons why a person has trouble either falling or staying asleep. But, regardless of what’s keeping you up at night, finding a solution is of utmost importance. Sleep is one of the most important and healthy activities for both the mind and the body, yet a lot of people disconsider the positive impact that a full eight hours of sleep every night can have on their well-being.