Do you toss & turn and eventually end up on your back looking at the ceiling with no chances of falling asleep? I know I have on multiple occasions. There are many reasons as to why you can’t seem to fall asleep or stay asleep whether it be from stress, an injury, or some other type of underlying cause. There are 50-70 million Americans who are extremely sleep deprived. I have suffered from sleepless nights for many years and I’m here to fill you in on why you may be in the same boat as I was.
You wouldn’t believe how many reasons there are as to why you can’t seem to get a good slumber. The average adult should get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. The medical term for not being able to sleep is known as insomnia.
Insomnia comes in two different forms called primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia can be defined as having sleep issues that aren’t associated directly with any health condition. Secondary insomnia means that you are having sleep troubles because of some other underlying health problem such as cancer, arthritis, depression, asthma, and a bunch of others.
You can also have acute or chronic insomnia. Acute means that it’s generally short-term and chronic means that it’s constantly recurring. Acute can last from one night or a few weeks and chronic lasts a maximum of one month or longer and as little as 3 nights.?
Check out these symptoms, if you can relate to any of them, you may have insomnia which is causing your sleepless nights:
I’m sure if you are having sleep difficulties, you have one or more of these symptoms. At one point in time, I had all of these and it’s extremely frustrating. So, why exactly are your sleep problems occurring?
Life is stressful, whether it be from your job, home, kids, finances, or any other life troubles you may be having. When you are stressed out , your brain never stops and you can’t seem to shut it off. This is why you are lying awake at night thinking about everything in your life.
When you’re stressed out, your body goes into overdrive and it can affect your nervous system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive system.
So how can you eliminate stress to sleep better? Your stress may not completely go away, but you can try some helpful relaxation breaks during the day or shift your perspective about life completely. This means thinking positively and not negatively.
Caffeine is a stimulant that is commonly found in coffee, soda, energy drinks, and other sugary liquids. If you have caffeine too late in the day, it’ll keep you awake for a longer time. It is best that you stop drinking coffee at least 6 hours before bedtime.
Alcohol is a sedative. Yes, this may seem like a good idea-drink a ton of alcohol to sleep better-you’re wrong. It may make you sleep, but it won’t keep you there. You’ll sleep for maybe 4 hours and that’s it. You won’t fall into a deep sleep and you’ll find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unrested.?
Nicotine is a stimulant, much like caffeine. Smokers tend to have withdrawal symptoms early in the morning and if you smoke at night before bed, the stimulant properties can keep you awake for longer. If you cut back on your consumption, you may find yourself sleeping better and longer.
?If you travel or work weird shifts, such as late night or early morning, you’re more susceptible to sleepless nights/mornings. By working or travelling during these early mornings or late nights, it can disrupt your cardiac rhythm, making it really difficult to fall asleep.
?Cardiac rhythm is kind of like our internal clock because it helps to regulate our sleep and wake cycle, body temperature, and metabolic functions. If this is thrown off, your body is likely to work against you and keep you from sleeping properly.
If you have no choice but to work or travel during the strange hours of the day/night, it is best to still try to get yourself on a schedule that your body can handle and understand. This could result in better sleeping habits.?
Medications have a way of interfering with your sleep, causing these sleepless nights. If you take any type of these medications, it may explain your sleep issues:
Not only can prescription medications cause sleepless nights, but so can over the counter remedies such as decongestants, weight loss supplements, and even some herbal remedies. If there is any way you can find an alternative medication that won’t interfere with your sleep schedule, it is best to do so to avoid those sleepless nights.
In order to finally lay down and sleep through the night without feeling groggy or tired the next morning, there are a few things that you can do that may help.
One thing that I have always done to help me get in the mood to sleep and wind down was to take a hot shower or bath. When I combined this with some soothing music and a nice smelling candle, such as lavender, I was finding myself falling asleep quicker. This only works if you turn off electronic devices as well.
Being consistent is the key to this method. You need to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on those much needed days off. Improving your sleep-wake cycle will promote better sleep. If you can’t seem to fall asleep within 15 minutes of snuggling up to your pillow or partner, get back up and do something that will relax you and get back in bed when you’re tired.
As I stated earlier, sugar and caffeine are stimulants. If you cut out sugar and caffeine before you go to bed, you may find that you fall asleep and stay asleep. This includes alcohol, nicotine, sugary drinks, and coffee. Even if your drink isn’t sugary, you should still limit how much you take in to avoid late night bathroom trips.
Dim the lights, cut out the sound, cool your room down, and get comfortable. You should also ensure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow. You certainly aren’t going to get comfortable on a lumpy, old mattress.
Sleepless nights are frustrating and tiring. If you can pinpoint why you aren’t sleeping, you can probably fix it with the advice I have given you. Cut out the caffeine, electronics, uncomfortable mattresses, alcohol, and medications. If you do these things, you’ll be able to sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go the next day. As always, if you enjoyed this article, feel free to comment and share!
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