5 Reasons You Can’t Sleep and What to Do About Them

By Chad Taylor on March 18, 2016

You want to sleep. You need to sleep. But, it just doesn’t happen. Why? Here are 5 of the top reasons why people can’t sleep and some ideas on how to fix them.

1. You Can’t Stop Thinking. Whether it’s something you just have to get done the next day or something like an argument that you can’t stop thinking about, you’re obsessing. You can turn off the chatter in your mind and you can’t get to sleep. The fact that you’re trying to sleep may be part of the problem. According to the Sleep Research Program at Duke University Medical Center, you may be going in and out of a light sleep even though you think you’re awake. It’s hard to control your thoughts in that stage. What to do? Leave the lights off but get up and go to another part of the house. It’s called stimulus control and use it! You don’t want your bed to be the place you associate with anxiety. You can also set aside some time before bed to think through your problems or even write them down.

2. You Hear Every Sound. Are you one of those people who says they hear every single sound – even that dropping pin. Probably not. According to the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital, it’s not the sound, it’s the change in sound that’s waking you up. Inconsistency in sound is disruptive. Use some white noise. Turn on the ceiling fan or get a white-noise machine to help provide just enough noise to block changes in sound and keep those who can’t stand complete silence asleep, too.

3. You’re Hungry. We all know the old adage about not eating a lot before we go to bed. Research has indicated that those who are dieting may have more interrupted sleep. Hunger pangs can wake you up so grab a high-protein snack, like a hard-boiled egg or a little cheese, for a better night’s rest.

4. Clutter Can Keep You Awake. Seriously, a cluttered bedroom leads to a cluttered mind. Stress is the biggest culprit when it comes to depriving us of sleep. If your bedside table is stacked with that big project from work or if the laundry you haven’t put away in a week is sitting on the chair, it’s going to be hard to relax. Grab a basket and toss the mess into it. Stow it away and, then, during the daylight hours, put it away. Keep your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy; leave everything else out!

5. You’ve Got A Glow. And, this time it isn’t a good one. Your charging laptop is glowing. Your alarm clock is glowing. The DVD light is little but it’s there. There’s that nightlight shining in the hallway. Even a small amount of light can be enough to travel through your closed eyelids and keep you awake. Get dark. There are alarm clocks that let you turn off the light but keep the alarm set. There are nightlights that are motion activated and not constantly on. Wear an eye mask and don’t forget to close the blackout drapes.

Before you toss and turn, really get ready to sleep. Make your list of things to do and put it away. Pick up the clutter. Turn off the lights – all of them. Make sure your bed is ready with straightened sheets and blankets, not a nest of fabric. If your mattress is part of what’s keeping you awake, make the investment in a new one. It’s the best buy you can make. After all you’re going to hopefully spend 1/3 of your day on it. You can find affordable latex mattresses, known for their full-body support and pain-reducing properties, on the Internet. Invest in a good night’s sleep with both a great sleeping environment and a great mattress.