7 reasons why you can't sleep

BlackDoctor.org | 5/15/2017, 11:03 a.m.
Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night trying to fall asleep?

3. Caffeine overload

Coffee or tea in the morning is a must for many people. Occasionally, an afternoon pick-me-up may be necessary, too. However, drinking too much caffeine throughout the day or too close to bedtime may be keeping you up at night. I used to love drinking a cup of tea or coffee after work to help hold me over before dinner until I figured out this was contributing to my restless nights. Instead, I tried decaf tea and a handful of fruit to replace my afternoon caffeine fix, and surprisingly this helped significantly. I no longer felt restless at night and was more relaxed at bedtime. If you feel like your day is dragging and you cannot go another second without a cup of coffee, try reaching for water instead. Sometimes you are actually dehydrated and sipping water can help give you that energy boost you’re craving.

4. Noise

Too little or too much noise can also interfere with your sleep. I personally need white noise to block out any outside noises. When I am first falling asleep, even just footsteps can keep me awake as well as karaoke night at the bar next to my apartment building every Tuesday night. This is why I must have a fan on at nighttime. Once I fall asleep, I typically can sleep through anything as long as a fan is on in my bedroom. Any time I am in a new place where there is no fan or noise machine, I have difficulty falling asleep. In this case, I will download a sound machine app on my phone. I recommend turning on a fan or sound machine to anyone who has a sleep disorder in order to get the best quality of sleep each night.

5. Light exposure

Watching television, playing on your phone, and even digital clocks may be another surprising reason why you can’t sleep at night. Studies have shown that these types of lights interfere with signals in your brain telling your body it is time to shut down and go to sleep. I am guilty of scrolling through social media on my cell phone in bed before going to bed and even leaving the tv on time to time. However, evenings I am exposed to these bright lights, I find that I have more difficulty falling asleep. Try setting a cut off time for all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. Instead, try meditating, journaling, or reading a book to reduce the amount of brightness you are getting at night.

6. Irregular sleep schedule

Sometimes there are nights you seem to be restless for no apparent reason. Perhaps you have used all of the above suggestions, but are still tossing and turning. You may not feel stressed or even anxious but still can’t seem to fall asleep anyways. If this is the case, you may need to evaluate your activity that day. Try to avoid naps if possible in the afternoon. Sometimes a power nap is necessary to re-energize before a workout or dinner date. However, anything more than 20 minutes could interfere with your sleeping patterns. You should also try to stick to the same sleep schedule each night, especially during the week. Although life tends to happen and you may find yourself staying at happy hour a few hours longer than expected, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is a smart move.

7. Uncomfortable bedroom environment

Your bedroom should be your (and your partner’s) own private sanctuary where you feel safe and at ease each night. I have lived in many places over the past 10 years after leaving my childhood home. I have lived in dorm rooms, off-campus housing, summer beach houses, and a few different apartments. Although all of these places were very different from one another, I always managed to make my bedroom feel comfortable. At nighttime, I choose to keep the temperature cool. There’s nothing worse than waking up in a pile of sweat at nighttime. I love snuggling into my blankets and feeling a slight breeze. I also try and keep my bedroom dark. If you do not have the proper blinds in your bedroom, try black out curtains. I also wear an eye mask at night to keep light out. Lastly, try to keep your bedroom organized. Reducing clutter can help to keep you relaxed and feel more at peace before going to bed.