Finding it hard to fall asleep at the end of the day even when you are really tired? You are probably pulling your hair out figuring out why you are tired but can’t sleep.
Well, you are in luck, because today we will go into why that may be happening and what you can do so you can accomplish a better sleep-wake cycle and achieve improved sleep quality.
There are many reasons why you could be experiencing sleep deprivation such as your circadian rhythm being off, sleep disorders like sleep apnea affecting your sleep schedule, you may be daytime napping a lot, and so on.
Why is Sleep Important?
It should go without saying that getting a restful night’s sleep is important for your body to function.
If you have been having an issue falling asleep or you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness a lot, then you will know how jarring that can be to manage throughout the day, especially if you need to be alert for school or work.
We need to sleep to help support healthy brain function as well as maintain our physical health.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Over time, unhealthy sleep habits can lead to various sleep problems that could make you wake up a lot during the night or have trouble falling asleep.
If you do not get an adequate amount of sleep each night, around 7 to 9 hours, then you could be looking at developing heart disease, asthma, depression, etc., this is why it is so important to rest your body and have good sleep hygiene.
What is The Reason Behind Why I Can’t Sleep?
Before you chalk it up to your body just being your body, there is definitely a reason why you are not able to fall asleep at nighttime.
Whether you are dealing with chronic insomnia or delayed sleep phase syndrome, there is a reason behind it and there are ways that you can support your body to help you create healthy sleep habits, like sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, or seeing a sleep specialist to gather information.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Our circadian rhythm is a 24-hour clock, it is synchronized by natural light and darkness cues as well as bodily hormones, this hardwires us to be awake during the day and fall asleep at night.
You can develop a circadian rhythm disorder when your body is thrown off with a misalignment between your day and night cycle, and your internal body clock.
Without your body working as it should, you will start to experience poor sleep issues such as insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness which will only get worse over time.
How Bad Can They Get?
These disorders will vary in severity, for instance, if you have been on a plane, then you may get jet lag depending on where you have been and the time difference, this is not a serious throw-off for your body, but if you are a shift worker who works at a variety of different times day and night, then you are going to experience this more severely.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has stated that one in five American adults does not get enough sleep during the night.
What Hours Are Best For Working?
Working a 9 to 5 or times that are similar to that, consistently, will help you keep your sleep-wake cycle at the right level and help you to fall asleep at night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
When you lack consistency in your sleep schedule, then this will turn into poor sleep hygiene which can have a knock-on effect in other areas of your life, so if you can, make sure that you are able to keep to a specific schedule to keep you healthy.
Too Much Caffeine Consumption
A lot of people will wake up and make themselves a strong cup of coffee to help them wake up and get on with their day, whilst this may be the preferred option to get you to wake up, over time, this can actually have a detrimental effect on your health.
When it becomes a habit it can cause you to develop issues with your sleep-wake cycle, for example, it can decrease sleep efficiency, worsen sleep quality, and reduce the time you stay asleep.
Caffeine is a good way to get you going but, if you keep drinking it and having it later in the day, then you will start to disturb your sleep patterns and stop you from getting the full benefit of sleep.
What Can You do?
To stop this from happening, it is important to cut off your coffee intake when it gets to the afternoon and only have a couple of cups in the morning.
It may be hard to cut back initially, especially if you are so used to drinking it, but once you get over that hump you will see the benefits in your sleep and you won’t feel sleepy during the day so much or find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
You Are Stressed and Anxious
If you are someone who gets stressed a lot or you have an anxiety disorder, then you will probably find it tough to get to sleep, mainly because your body feels wired and awake due to the cortisol running through your body.
By the end of the day, your cortisol levels should be reduced to allow melatonin production so you can have restful sleep, however, if you are still going through anxiety or stress, then this sends your body the wrong signals and causes you to stay awake or keep waking up during the night.
How Can You Help Yourself?
There are a few ways that this can be combated to help you achieve the sleep you need.
You may want to speak to a therapist about what you are going through so they can help you get to the root of the problem and help you sleep.
You can also check out stress management techniques that will be beneficial in calming down your initial stress response.
Using Electronic Devices
If you like to be on your phone just before you fall asleep, then you may find that this will throw off your body clock due to the blue light emitting from your phone/laptop/tablet.
Your sleep hormone will be suppressed when you use an electronic device before bed, meaning that you will not get the right amount of sleep or you will find it hard to have a deep sleep.
It can also add to your stress levels if you are going on social media before sleeping.
You may see something you don’t actually want to which can keep you up most of the night worrying about it or going back on your phone.
What is The Best Course of Action?
Instead of going on your phone before bed, put it down an hour or two before getting into bed and instead read a book or listen to a book (you don’t have to look at your screen constantly to do this).
This will help you unwind and reduce your screen time so you are not waking up your brain during a time when it should be calming down for the evening.
As a woman, your body gets put through a lot.
When it comes to hormones, you may be aware that at certain times during your cycle you find it hard to have a good amount of sleep or you feel fatigued a lot more.
Hormonal fluctuations can lead to high body temperature and anxious feelings which will cause you to find a lot of things difficult, but more importantly, it will affect your sleep quality which needs to be good when you are battling menstruation or menopause.
Is There Something You Can do?
All women are different, and if you are experiencing serious symptoms, then something could actually be wrong and you will need to go to a doctor to have that investigated.
You can try supplements and relaxing activities to help you sleep, this may move things along, however, it is a mixed bag, so you might want to try a few things out to see which suits you and your problem best.
Hopefully, this article has been able to answer the question – “why can’t I sleep at night even when I’m tired?” and you are able to work through whatever issue has been plaguing you.
It is not easy to always make sure that you are sleeping correctly and you are sticking to a solid schedule, but when you see what can happen if you don’t, it is worth it to take notice of what you can do to get a good night’s sleep.