why can't i sleep

Top 11 Reasons You Don’t Sleep Well

Ways to Help Catch Good Shuteye

As many as 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. Alongside movement and nutrition, sleep is vital for a healthy life and failure to get enough good-quality rest can make you irritable, accident-prone and unable to concentrate. Sleep deprivation can affect your self-confidence, relationships and professional life.

Fortunately, a lifetime of sleeping better is within reach. In this handy guide, we’ll explore the top ten reasons you aren’t sleeping well and identify how to get back on track to a good night’s sleep.

1. Mattress

Mattresses are a crucial component of a good night's sleep. The right mattress can provide proper support for your body and help reduce pressure points, while a bad one can cause discomfort, pain and even disrupt your sleep. A mattress that is too soft or too firm can lead to improper spinal alignment, causing discomfort and pain in the back, neck and shoulders.

A bad mattress can also cause you to wake up frequently during the night, disrupting your sleep cycle and leaving you feeling groggy and tired in the morning. Inadequate support from a bad mattress can also lead to poor circulation, which can cause numbness and tingling in the limbs. It's important to invest in a quality mattress that provides the proper support and comfort for your individual needs in order to achieve optimal sleep quality and overall health.

2. Caffeine

There’s a reason why caffeine is best confined to the mornings. It’s a stimulant that energizes you and makes you more productive. This makes it the ideal drink for early mornings or before long business meetings, but one of the worst evening beverages.

Many people drink caffeinated drinks after their evening meal, which stimulates their brains and prevents them from getting a night of good sleep. Remember that soda also contains caffeine, so these are best avoided too. You’ll notice your sleep problems start to reduce once you kick caffeine from your evening routine.

3. Stress

It’s common to have a stressful day, but learning the skill of destressing before bed is key to good sleep. Before you try to go to sleep, do a mindless and relaxing activity like reading or journaling.

Whatever you do, don’t look at a bright screen just before you close your eyes for the night - you’ll find it takes a while before you can doze off.

4. Room Temperature

It’s a good idea to make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature for sleeping. Different bodies react differently to the temperature, so identify which you’re most comfortable with. If you’ve felt too hot during the day, open a window 30 minutes before bed to let some cold air in. If it’s been cold, turn the heating on for a few hours before you want to go to sleep.

Don’t forget you can remove items of clothing or put more on to make yourself warmer or colder. Putting a blanket over your quilt can also help during the winter months.

5. Restless Leg Syndrome

It’s believed that one in every 10 people in the US has restless leg syndrome, which causes tingling feelings in the legs during the night. It can keep you awake at night due to the compulsive urge to move the affected area.

6. Diet

What you eat can have a massive effect on your sleep quality. Candy, spicy foods and tomatoes can cause acid reflux and heartburn which become worse during the night and when lying down.

Eating too late into the evening can also cause sleep issues, so it’s best practice to eat your main meal at least three hours before bedtime.

7. Exercise

Exercise is great for burning energy. But if you don’t exercise regularly, this energy becomes stored and contributes negatively to sleeping patterns.

Bizarrely and somewhat counterintuitively, exercising too close to bedtime can boost your mental activity. As such, try to exercise during the mornings if you can.

8. Bedding

Uncomfortable bedding can have a massive impact on the quality of sleep we can expect to enjoy. It’s easiest to get to sleep when you feel cozy. Misshaped pillows or a lumpy mattress can make it difficult to fall asleep.

9. Night Terrors

Night terrors are a form of sleep disorder whereby an individual is overcome by fear when they’re asleep. It may present itself in the form of screaming, sweating or shaking. Sufferers note that night terrors prevent them from getting good sleep.

Starchy foods like bread and pasta and dairy items, including milk, increase the likelihood of night terrors, so avoid eating these during the evening. Night terrors are cyclical, usually occurring at the same time every night. An alternative solution to changing your diet is to have someone wake you up just before that time in an attempt to break the cycle.

10. Alcohol

While alcohol can be a solution for insomnia, the key is how much you drink. A single glass of wine or a small serving of whisky can help you sleep, but drinking too much before bed can have the opposite effect and disturb your sleep.

11. Showering

Showering or taking a bath before bedtime relaxes you, so it feels like a great method to bring on feelings of sleepiness. However, having a shower or bath increases your body temperature, which can make you more uncomfortable in bed and less likely to get to sleep with ease.