“A ruffled mind makes a sleepless pillow.” ~ Charlotte Bronte
Having trouble falling asleep? Feeling tired on the walk to your bedroom, then wide awake as your head hits the pillow?
Eight Potential Reasons You Can’t Fall Asleep
1. Didn’t Prepare for Sleep
Quality sleep is just as important as preparing for a big meeting, athletic event, or speech.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
If you’re tired but have trouble falling asleep, consider finding a night-time routine that prepares you for quality, restful sleep.
2. Eating Dinner/Snack Too Late
The body and brain have specific, important tasks they need to complete each night. Some of these are the brain flushing out toxins, cellular repair and cleansing, gut reset, etc.
If you eat too close to bedtime, these tasks get put off until digestion is complete. Your heart rate elevates, cortisol levels spike, and you can find yourself tossing and turning most of the night.
If you’d like more quality sleep, consider moving your last caloric intake for the day back to 3+ hours before bedtime.
3. There is Caffeine Still in Your System
It takes about eight hours for caffeine to flush out of your system. Therefore, that afternoon coffee to get you over the energy lull may be causing some sleep disturbances.
If you’re tossing and turning while trying to fall asleep, consider having that last cup of coffee before noon.
4. Exercising Too Late
Exercise has many benefits.
However, mistimed exercise can cause issues when it relates to sleep. For the body to enter deep sleep, your heart rate must decrease.
If you raise your heart rate through exercise too late in the day, it may be difficult to calm down in time for bed.
If you’d like to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, consider moving your exercise routine earlier in the day.
5. Screen Time
Exposure to blue light causes the production and release of cortisol in the brain.
Cortisol is the stress hormone you want to spike in the morning before you wake up. It also stops the flow and release of melatonin - the hormone that helps you feel sleepy.
When you use screens late into the night, this cortisol/melatonin release can get out of whack – causing irregular sleep patterns and poor deep sleep.
If you’re finding yourself with a racing mind when your head hits the pillow, consider no screen use for at least 60 minutes before bed.
6. The Bedroom is Too Warm
When the bedroom is too warm, your body’s stress response remains active throughout the night. It may feel like you’ve slept, but this is a very light, low-quality form of sleep in most situations.
If you’re having trouble getting deep and REM sleep, consider cooling your bedroom to about 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. The Bedroom is Not Dark Enough
Even the smallest amount of light can disrupt your sleep.
Whether it’s an alarm clock nearby, light coming in from the windows, or a phone that continues to get notifications, when the light flashes, your brain responds. This causes you to get out of whatever stage of sleep you are in.
If you use a sleep tracking device and notice tons of small “wake-times” throughout the night, this could be due to changes in bedroom lighting.
If you lack quality sleep, consider taking the necessary steps to make your bedroom as dark as possible.
8. Unresolved or Unmanaged Stress
Chronic stress disrupts your brain’s ability to “shut down” at the end of the day. Unmanaged stress takes each of the seven items listed above and groups them all together.
Chronic stress will chronically elevate your heart rate, slow or stop the flow of melatonin in your brain, and significantly lower your ability to find restful sleep.
If you’ve been overly stressed out, consider finding some simple ways to begin implementing stress management practices throughout the day so that you can enjoy a refreshing night’s sleep.
Next Steps to Conquering Your Sleep Problems
For further reading, view our other articles:
- How is Sleep so Important to Mental Health?
- What are the Benefits of REM Sleep?
- What Makes Diaphragmatic Breathing so Important?
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical Institute has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your health and energy back and fix your sleep.
To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!