At least 9 out of 10 people have known that feeling of going to bed exhausted but ended up staring at the ceiling sleepless for a solid 3 hours. Sometimes, the reasons why we can’t close our eyes are obvious, but in other times, it is just impossible to get a grip on what is going on.
In order to understand why your body is refusing to surrender into the beautiful sleep waves, you have to pay attention to every little detail that could influence this behavior, from the room’s temperature to your mental state.
Learning the reason will definitely help you fall into a slumber a lot quicker later on. If you can sleep within the first 5 to 10 minutes, then you are doing great. But if it takes you more than 30 minutes, then you should start paying attention to both your mind and health.
So, if you are incapable to fall asleep, here is what your body is trying to tell you.
#1 – You exercised before bedtime
The time you choose to exercise can affect drastically how fast you’ll fall asleep. If you chose to work out late at night, then your level of endorphins and adrenaline will elevate, which will lead to difficulty of sleeping.
On the other hand, if you haven’t been very active during the day, then you may also find it hard to fall asleep because your body still has a lot of energy stored inside. You will fall asleep faster when you are more tired. Just make sure to work out many hours before your bedtime.
#2 – You ate before bedtime
Obviously, dinner is one of the day’s most important meals, but it is not going to do any good if you had it late at night, especially if you eat heavy meals.
Your GI tract will work extra to digest the food, which will distract your mind from falling asleep, and in case you did sleep, you will probably be having many unwanted nightmares.
So, try to have dinner 3 hours, at least, before bedtime, and always go for smaller and lighter portions.
#3 – Your mind is busy
There are many people who stay awake because their brain is clouded with racing thoughts that don’t want to go away. It is a known fact that depression and anxiety could be playing a role in keeping your brain too active to feel tired or even needing to sleep.
In order to fall asleep like a baby, you have to manage and maintain your mental health, get rid of whatever is stressing you, and prevent the racing thoughts from controlling you.
#4 – Too much caffeine
We are all aware that caffeine is a stimulant that keeps us awake during the day, and having too much of it during the evening will definitely prevent you from slipping into a slumber.
If you have a habit of drinking caffeine late, then it is time to stick to only 1 or 2 cups. In case you are sensitive to caffeine, try to stay away from coffee completely in the afternoon and go for black tea since it doesn’t contain as much caffeine as other beverages.
#5 – Too much light
Naturally, our brain cells start waking up with the sunrise and they start falling asleep when it gets dark, but the artificial light is messing with our natural body clock. That’s understandable since we use technology and social media constantly, preventing our eyes from seeing the dark.
It is sad that phones and computers are constantly in front of our faces day and night ruining our circadian rhythm, but that’s how we live today.
In order to fall asleep quicker, we have to power down the lights a few hours before bedtime and make sure to dim the lights to help your brain recognize it is night time.
#6 – Your temperature is too high
One of the reasons why you can’t fall asleep could be your room’s temperature. Once the temperature of your body increases, your eyes will not know what sleep means. Try to create a cool environment by opening the window or turning on the heater, even if you are feeling cozy. As long as it is not too hot, your body will be ready to sleep.
#7 – Sleep disorder
If your sleep hygiene is good and all of your healthy habits are on point, then it could be something else that’s keeping you from falling asleep.
According to Alcibiades Rodriguez, MD, medical director and professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center-Sleep Center, having troubles falling asleep could mean you are having a sleep disorder like insomnia or restless legs. It can also mean you have a medical condition that causes lack of sleep, like a thyroid problem.
If you are confident that you are doing everything right to fall asleep, but you still can’t, then it is time to consider seeing a doctor to get directly to the root of the problem.
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