You’re laying snug and cozy in your bed, you feel like you can’t collect and put your thoughts in place. You’re tired and your eyelids are shutting slowly. Still, you’ve tried everything, from imagining yourself on the beautiful beach to counting sheep. Even changing positions didn’t help. You asked yourself “Why can’t I sleep,” but there was no answer in the silent darkness. Don’t worry, we may have found the reason behind your insomnia, read on.
There are a lot of research studies for insomnia. All of them concluded that the causes behind insomnia in adolescents and adults are unknown. This article cracks down both common and unexplored reasons behind your inability to sleep and offers insightful tips to sleep peacefully again.
Can’t Sleep? Here are 10 Surprising Causes
1. Your diet
Food is the fuel that keeps us going throughout the day and gives us energy. However, if you give your car the wrong fuel it’ll likely break. The same goes for us. Insufficient nutrition may make you feel tired throughout the day, but too much-refined sugars and saturated food can make you stay awake at night.
The reason this happens is usually when we take a large carbs-rich meal just before bedtime. Our stomach, guts and the rest of metabolic functions activate, the heart pumps blood faster, sending signals to the brain to stay awake.
2. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common chronic sleep disorder, especially in people who are overweight and obese. It manifests in a way that makes you stop breathing temporarily, ending up gasping for air, moaning or snoring. It’s more common for back and stomach sleepers. There are multiple studies where scientists find their connection to insomnia.
3. Your phone and screen time
Do you like checking the phone at night? Are you too consumed with work to the point you have to work until late hours? Well, we have bad news for you like the blue light emitted from a smartphone, laptop and tablet screens make your brain more awake and lead to insomnia. One research has shown that excessive screen time leads to developing insomnia and depressive behavior in adolescents.
Also, many apps from the phone still have fairly bright backgrounds and aren’t optimized for the night phone. That can be a huge dealbreaker especially for people using devices running older systems without the support.
4. Too much caffeine
Coffee is a magical drink. It comes in various flavors and types. In some restaurants, it’s considered art because you can find so many specialties made of coffee, some you may’ve never heard of.
However, if you drink too much coffee, you may end up unable to sleep and that can be extremely messy if you have to wake up for work in the morning. The National Sleep Foundation proposes that not only is too much coffee responsible for insomnia, it also causes a headache, racing heart rate, migraine, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular issues.
Given it’s a stimulant and can be found in a dozen plant types, you can easily find it in cocoa, teas, nut kola and use it to wake up in the morning and remain energized. Still, it’s not recommended in large doses.
5. You’re overtired
Have you ever felt so tired that you can’t even fall asleep anymore? It’s a common thing to happen when you’ve bulked yourself up with obligations and different tasks to complete. Sometimes you just can’t shake all the thoughts of your mind and meeting the requirements.
That can make you feel too tired to sleep. Scientists define something called sleep debt which happens when you receive less than seven to eight hours of sleep. The sleep debt constantly increases as you don’t sleep, forcing the body to release excess amounts of adrenaline to keep you awake.
Stress can completely disrupt your daily routine. It affects your mood, productivity, health and finally, it can keep you up at night. Stress is usually followed by anxiety that contributes to your eyes being wide open at night. Perhaps you’re anticipating something important, have a deadline to take on and simply can’t make it finish it all.
The more and deeper you think about all the obligations you have to do or anticipation, the more tired you’ll be but unable to sleep. The next day you’ll be unable to finish the mentioned obligations and end up in a loop.
7. Restless leg syndrome
John Hopkins University conducted a study in 2013, which finds a relation between restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and chemicals in the brain. But what is the restless leg syndrome? It’s a condition that causes twitches, numbness, and discomfort in the legs. Interestingly, most of the time it happens when you’re headed to bed. Focusing on the pain and discomfort can lead to insomnia. In the longer run, RLS can result in serious conditions like depression.
8. You’re experiencing hormonal changes
For women, you may be experiencing fluctuating levels of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. That happens either during a period or as you’re approaching perimenopause.
The activity of these hormones can affect your sleep. It’s important to note that both sexes can experience insomnia due to unstable hormones as a result of the underactive or overly active thyroid gland, as well as chemical activity and processes happening in the brain.
9. You’re having allergic attacks
You probably didn’t think about this one. However, if you’re allergic to pollen, dander or dust mites and you have inadequate sleeping equipment you may end up sneezing and coughing a lot while your head will be a mess. Additionally, if you don’t clean and sanitize your room regularly, it will only make things worse.
10. There is too much noise
Some people are overly sensitive, and that’s okay. Some people can hear the smallest noise outside, in the pipes, in the other room where someone is crunching on chips and crackers, as well as the arguing neighbors. Sometimes, it’s never quite enough and if you’re too tired, you’ll end up being irritated. There’s simply nothing good in that.
Other things to consider
We’ve exhausted nearly all possibilities, but we reserved these small sections to educate you about additional causes of why can’t you sleep. The reason we didn’t outline them in more detail is that they likely require professional help and there’s no universal home remedy.
Most of the reasons above may be a response to acute insomnia which can last from one night to one week. In a more serious situation, you may develop chronic insomnia that will keep you restless for a long time and requires professional help and even stronger medication. Alternatively, you may have depression, which also requires a professional and serious approach as above mentioned solutions may only be short-term.
When you want to polish your sleep hygiene and you see that you have trouble falling asleep, get up and take a walk across the apartment. If you don’t feel tired, you may even take and read a book, or go to the balcony to take some fresh air. The only important thing to do is not run after your phone or TV.
And remember, if you feel that your problems with falling asleep are becoming chronic, look after help. There is a lot of professional welcoming you and ready to solve your problems.