Why Can’t I Sleep? Common Insomnia Causes & Tips
Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling, counting sheep and wondering: Why can’t I sleep? You lay awake for hours, constantly checking the clock or changing sleeping positions. For some people, this is a nightly occurrence, while for others it might only happen every once in a while. Either way, struggling to sleep can certainly feel frustrating! But the silver lining of the situation is knowing you’re not alone in your struggle to snooze.
What Can Cause Insomnia?
The majority of the population will experience symptoms of insomnia at some point in life, whether it is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing daytime tiredness. According to the Mayo Clinic, short-term (or acute) insomnia may last from a few days to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia can last for a month or more.
Sometimes, the reason you’re so tired but can’t sleep can be fairly easy to pinpoint – too much caffeine late in the day, having a big meal right before bed, an uncomfortable or outdated mattress, or a side effect from a prescribed medicine. Other times, the root cause for a lack of sleep may not be as easy to pinpoint.
The following are a few common causes of insomnia that are most often overlooked.
For many of us, the worries of our day carry over into the night, making it difficult for our bodies to fully relax and find rest. From stressful thoughts about work, school, relationships, health, and finances, it can be challenging to get a full night’s sleep when you feel like your mind just won’t turn off.
Bad habits relating to sleep include an inconsistent bedtime schedule, daytime naps, a chaotic or cluttered sleep environment, and using your bed for things like eating, watching TV, or playing video games. While these patterns may seem harmless enough, they’re all factors that can disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you wide awake well into the night.
People who take their work home in the evenings or who keep non-traditional hours (like overnights) may have difficulty transitioning into sleep mode. Frequently switching shifts can also disrupt your circadian rhythms, those internal processes that regulate your sleep-wake cycle and help you feel rested.
How to Help Combat Insomnia
A lack of sleep, especially on a consistent basis, can feel overwhelming. Chronic insomnia can leave a person feeling less productive, energized, and able to perform daily tasks. If you feel like your insomnia goes beyond these basic triggers and could be rooted in a deeper medical issue, talk things over with your doctor.
But if your concerns seem more surface level or situational, there’s a number of options out there you might find beneficial. The next time you’re wide-eyed into the early morning hours, try incorporating one of these easy and effective tips to help you sleep:
- Avoid bright lighting by turning off your devices (e.g. phones, tablets, and TVs) one hour before bedtime. The blue light from these screens keeps your mind alert rather than inactive.
- Cut off your caffeine intake after 2:00 PM, and eat your last meal a few hours before bed (optimally two to three hours before you anticipate going to sleep). Heavy meals can make lying down less comfortable, so give your body a break by having a light snack if it’s late.
- Apply essential oils to your feet, wrists, or palms, or think about purchasing an aromatherapy diffuser. Lavender, jasmine, and sandalwood are just a few of the fragrances with calming properties that can help lull you into a sweet sleep.
- Incorporate a relaxing ritual into your bedtime routine, like reading a few chapters from a book, indulging in a warm bath, or following guided meditation to quiet and focus your mind. These practices can signal to your brain it’s time to wind down, especially when incorporated on a regular basis.
- Create an inviting atmosphere for sleep by making updates to your bedroom. Investing in a new sheet set or even a new mattress can offer major improvements to the quality of your sleep. There are a handful of different mattresses on the market to choose from, so it’s important to do your research and select the style that’s best for you.
Get a Good Night’s Rest with Help from Rent-A-Center
The average person will spend nearly a third of their life sleeping (or trying to sleep), so why not have the most satisfying rest possible? If you’re looking to amp up your REM cycle, consider one of these tips and tricks to ease you into slumberland.
If you want to take things a step further, try a beautiful bedroom makeover with help from your local Rent-A-Center. Shop our wide selection of rent-to-own mattresses online and get a good night’s rest delivered to your doorstep for the ultimate convenience.