Not sleeping well at night? 6 Reasons why you can’t sleep
Can you remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep or have the last few weeks become one long blur of not sleeping well? Sleep deprivation is no joke and can severely impact your health.
So what to do? Whether it’s your lifestyle, stress, diet, or something more serious, find out what is stealing your sleep and what to do to get back to bed for good quality rest.
Are you tossing and turning and frequently waking up in the night? Interrupted sleep can lead to insomnia, daytime sleepiness and sleep deprivation, which can have long-term effects on your mental and physical health.
If you’re sleeping in stops and starts, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. And because your sleep cycles are being interrupted throughout the night, your body is not cycling through all 5 sleep stages. Meaning you’re missing out on essential restorative processes that take place in deep sleep, like memory consolidation and tissue repair.
6 Reasons why you’re not sleeping well
It’s nighttime, and you’re all settled in and ready to nod off. But you’re not falling asleep. Or, when you do, you’re sleeping fitfully.
From not having enough energy throughout the day to struggling to concentrate, not sleeping well can make doing simple things a challenge. It’s time to get to the bottom of your sleep problem and find the fix for better z’s.
1. You have a sleep disorder
Some common sleep disorders could be to blame for you not sleeping well.
- If you have insomnia, you could struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which an obstruction in your airways causes you to intermittently stop breathing in your sleep, causing you to gasp for air.
- REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder could cause you to thrash about while dreaming, waking you up and disrupting your sleep.
Visit a sleep specialist to rule out any underlying sleep disorders that could be causing you to sleep poorly.
2. You’re not getting enough exercise
Keeping fit not only releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, but it helps to improve the quality of your sleep. Studies show that regular exercise raises your body temperature a few degrees. Later in the day, when your temperature drops to normal, it can make you feel drowsy and help you nod off easier. If you’re not scheduling in some time to sweat, you’ll start to feel lethargic, which could lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
3. You’re eating too close to bedtime
Have you ever felt bloated and uncomfortable after a heavy meal? Now imagine that feeling right before sleep. The chances of you sleeping well are close to zero. Instead aim to eat a few hours before your bedtime, so that your body can digest the food and you can enjoy your forty winks without the discomfort of feeling too full.
4. Suffering from anxiety or stress
One of the biggest sleep thieves is a stressed-out mind. If you can’t let go of your worries before bed, your sleep will suffer. During the day when you’re busy with work, family or friends, you’re often distracted from thinking about what’s worrying you. But when nighttime hits, anxiety can interfere with your ability to sleep peacefully.
5. Poor sleep hygiene
Are you guilty of staying up late scrolling through Instagram or playing games on your phone? Or perhaps you have a TV in your bedroom, and you love falling asleep to the sound of your favourite series. These are all bad sleep habits which affect the quality of your rest.
What do good sleep habits look like?
- You avoid caffeine, stimulants and alcohol before bedtime.
- Your room is a sleep sanctuary (cool, dark, quiet and a no-phone zone).
- You practise a consistent wind-down routine (whether it be guided meditation, journaling or calming sleep music).
6. Suffering from pain
If you’ve been ignoring that ache, it could keep you up at night. While it sometimes feels like sleeping can relieve pain, changing your sleep position during the night to accommodate the pain could interrupt your sleep.
What are the side effects of not sleeping well?
Missing out on z’s can have a powerful effect on your health. Moodiness, a weakened immune system and impaired memory are all part and parcel of not sleeping well. Some of the side effects to expect from frequently interrupted sleep include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Short-term memory issues
- Poor judgement
- Loss of motivation
- Weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
What to do if you’re not sleeping well
This may sound like a no-brainer but try to schedule in some sleep where you can. If you’re struggling to make it through the day after a sleepless night, give yourself a gap to take a nap. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Most importantly, prioritise your sleep by making a few small changes to your lifestyle and nighttime routine. Take a warm bath, do some light stretching, or listen to soothing music to relax. Guided meditations can also ease your path into dreamland by helping you unwind, de-stress and focus on your breathing.
You deserve to reap the benefits of peaceful sleep. To can function at your best, prioritise your rest.