Why Can’t I Sleep at Night?
Most people will experience difficulty sleeping at some point in their life. Insomnia is actually not that uncommon, with a third of the UK thought to experience episodes of it. Insomnia is characterised as having habitual difficulties sleeping, and can be caused by various different issues.
Below are some of the main reasons you might not be able to sleep at night. Through this guide we’ll be exploring these reasons, why they can cause difficulties, and how to manage them:
- Stress and anxiety
- Stimulating environment
- Irregular sleeping times
- Uncomfortable bed
Whilst these are common reasons people can struggle to sleep, there are a whole host of other issues that may be causing this. Visit the NHS’s page on insomnia listed below to find out more on causes and treatments.
Stress and Anxiety
Suffering from stress and anxiety can leave you feeling on-edge, which can make it incredibly difficult to then drift off. Whether you’re concerned about a particular something, or just feeling generally overwhelmed, it’s hard to then unwind into a deep, relaxing sleep.
Feeling stressed or anxious can make the process of drifting off significantly longer, subsequently reducing your quantity of sleep. If you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep, this could then further exacerbate your stress/anxiety, reducing your mental wellbeing and overall quality of life.
You can alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety through a range of different ways. Just before bed, it might be good to write down any concerns that are occupying your mind, helping you to clear your head and unwind for sleep. Even writing up a plan of all the things you need to do can help release them from your mind, and stop you from dwelling on it.
Another useful way to alleviate stress and anxiety is to practice deep breathing exercises and meditation. This can help the body to relax, releasing built-up tension and promoting a sense of calm.
If you can’t go to sleep, it’s important to get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Lying in bed worrying can exacerbate both the stress/anxiety and the subsequent sleeping difficulties it causes.
Having certain stimuli disrupting you during the night can also make it difficult to get to sleep, and further maintain that sleep throughout the night. Light is one of the major disturbances that can stop you from a good night’s rest.
When our bodies are in the dark, chemicals are released that help us to relax and fall asleep, whereas when it’s light the body will assume it’s time to get up. It’s therefore best to try and keep your room as dark as possible when going to sleep, investing in eye masks or blackout blinds to help with this if necessary.
The light emitted from our laptops and phone screens can also suppress the production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep after recent exposure. Before going to bed, it might help to not use these devices, and occupy yourself with a relaxing activity such as reading or taking a bath.
Noise can also greatly disturb you from your sleep. If the noise is outside of your control, it may help to purchase some earplugs. Earplugs can be particularly useful during the summer, when you may want to open the window to cool the room.
Irregular Sleeping Times
When it comes to sleep, our bodies are creatures of habit, and like a regular sleeping schedule. It’s important to try and stick to a sleeping schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This can help to regulate your internal body clock, which both our minds and bodies can thrive on.
Whilst your body should start to naturally feel tired close to bed time, you should only ever go to bed once you feel tired. This can help you to associate bed with sleep, and make it easier to drift off.
Your bed can be one of the most important factors contributing to your sleep. If your mattress is old and doesn’t offer much support, chances are you’ll not get the best night’s rest. By investing in comfortable, good quality bedding, you can help to [optimise your bedroom for sleep] – link to optimising bedroom for sleep article.
Whilst mattresses are expensive, if yours is old, uncomfortable or broken it might be worth investing in a new one. This can significantly improve your comfort in bed, further helping you to drift off.
Having good-quality covers, pillows and blankets can also play a major role in improving your sleep quality. Weighted blankets are designed to relax the brain by helping it to place the body in its space. This can help us to feel less restless, alleviate stress and agitation, and further promote sleep.
Weighted blankets are often used by those with sleeping problems, as well as those who suffer from stress and anxiety. They help to promote a sense of calm and relaxation throughout the body, and can be great to use as a blanket for bed.