Have you ever done that thing where you go to bed, and then you just lay on your phone scrolling and scrolling because you can’t relax? Even when you don’t have your phone you’re staring into space, watching the stars go by the window.
You look up at the clock and you see that the time is moving and you tell yourself – just two more hours until I wake up for work. Just one more hour until I wake up for work. It’s time to wake up for work – oh god, I am so tired!
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Insomnia is not something that’s unique, but it is something that’s a pain to deal with. Often you’re later thinking about all of the reasons you might not be sleeping. Knowing what’s going to prevent you from sleeping is how you get your rest back. When you know the cause, if you can fix it.
If there is a medical cause behind your insomnia, until you see a doctor you’re not going to know what the problem is. Some people figure out how to get a medical marijuana card to be able to combat their insomnia and get some rest to finally switch their brain off.
It’s not an option that’s open for everybody, which is why you have to seek help from your doctor before you figure out anything to do with your insomnia.
You will sleep much better when you understand why you’re staring at the ceiling, and we have compiled a list of 10 things that can stop you from sleeping. Again, seek help if this is an ongoing issue and it’s starting to affect your daily life.
- Tossing and turning. This one is a double edge sword, because if you’re tossing and turning it means you’re not sleeping. But tossing and turning is going to prevent you from sleeping – do you see the problem? When sleep doesn’t happen when you want it to, you move around to find a comfortable spot to be able to fall asleep. This means you’re spending more time in your bed not sleeping when you are supposed to be. This stops your brain from associating laying in bed with sleeping, and that makes it very difficult to get to sleep.
- Your bed sucks. One of the biggest reasons you’re not sleeping? Your bed is uncomfortable. The bed you’re laying in should make you feel welcomed, relaxed, and rested. That means the mattress has to match what you need, there has to be enough pillows, you need the right weight of blanket to feel comfortable without it being too heavy and too sweaty. Your senses remain active when you get into bed, so if you’re not comfortable your body is going to pinpoint the pain and point it out to you – loudly! Your bed is not the only consideration; the wrong environment is not conducive to sleeping, and such a simple thing is able to be tweaked to make it easier for you to drift off.
- You take too many naps. It can be so tempting to have a nap in the day if you haven’t slept enough at night time, but this could be interrupting your ability to sleep and is not helping your insomnia. Of course, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night time, catching up can make it feel good for the rest of the day. However, if you cut out the naps you may give yourself a better chance of sleeping at night.
- You’re scrolling on your phone. The bedroom is supposed to be a place for sleep, sex, pillow talk, and just generally resting at the end of the day. If you have a TV in your bedroom, or you are laying and scrolling on your phone, the blue light technology is going to interfere with your ability to sleep and insomnia is the result. Try cutting out the screens in your bedroom for a few nights and see if it makes a difference.
- God bless caffeine. While you may wake up in the morning and thank the sky for your morning coffee, it’s not doing you much good if you’re drinking caffeine and it’s keeping you up at night. Stimulants are a problem and caffeine is one of them. A cup of tea or coffee could help to kickstart your day, but it can also keep you up at night. One of the best things you can do is reduce how much caffeine you have, and that means as bedtime approaches – ideally from midday onwards – you need to let go of coffee, tea and a chocolate – yes, give up the chocolate after midday and see if it makes a difference to your insomnia.
- Start giving up the bad habits. If you’re having a glass of wine in the evening to help with sleep problems, you’re not alone. Alcohol can help people to sleep faster however it does more harm than it does good. The reliance on alcohol can cause long-term issues, and then what do you do when you still can’t sleep? The cycle becomes you drinking more alcohol to sleep when you’re not sleeping at all. Giving up alcohol in the evening is going to help you to regulate your brain and enable you to fall asleep properly without relying on alcohol to go to sleep in the first place.
- You have too much on your mind. Life is busy, between work, studying, children, friendships – there are a lot of things on the list that you have to get done every single day. If you have too much on your mind and you’re not unwinding before bed you’re going to constantly worry about all of those things when you should be sleeping. Sometimes you need to carve out some time before you go to sleep just to unplug your mind, get off technology and just relax. Taking a hot bath without any music, without any TV – that can help. See how you go with that one.
- You have too much energy. If you’re going to bed but you can feel the adrenaline still coursing through your body, give yourself 15 minutes. Lay still and close your eyes as if you were asleep. If in 15 minutes, you’re still awake and you still feel that adrenaline, get out of bed, move around, do some star jumps, go for a quick walk around the house. Just burn off some of the energy in your system. Doing this can help you to calm yourself down. Go back into bed and try again for another 15 minutes.
- Your sleep is inconsistent. If you’re sleeping and waking times are irregular, the chances are you’re not gonna be able to get to sleep at the same time of night. One night you go to sleep at 1 am the next night you go to sleep at 10pm, it is exhausting. Try to reinforce your internal clock by going to bed at a regular time and setting an alarm to wake you at regular time.
- You’re sleeping on a full stomach. If you are eating dinner too late in the evening, you are going to be trying to go to sleep with a heavy weight of food on your stomach. Now, while your digestive system is doing its thing, you need to feel comfortable. Give yourself a couple of hours after you eat before you try to settle down, or you could find yourself waking in the night.