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Five Reasons You Can't Sleep

I need help falling asleep

You can't sleep.  We know why and we can help.  

Sleep plays an extremely important role in our day-to-day lives. A restful night’s sleep is the key to better health, lowered risk for several diseases and increased energy levels. Many of us, however, are not receiving the adequate quantity or quality of sleep required for optimum health.

Here are the top five reasons you can't sleep and we'll explore them in further detail in this post.

1. Looking at Your Phone Before Bed

2. Using the Wrong Pillow

3. Drinking Alcohol

4. Eating Too Late

5. Sleeping In Too Late

Now let's break each one down and go into more detail on why these five things keep you awake and how you can fix them.  

Looking at your phone before bed: Our bodies are naturally tuned into a circadian rhythm; we feel awake and energetic during daylight and sleepy as night approaches. For thousands of years, our ancestors lived by this rhythm and enjoyed good quality sleep. With the advent of modern technology, the cell phone, in particular, we have caused considerable disruption to this natural pattern. Our cell phones and other electronic devices like tablets and laptops emit blue light which tricks your body into thinking that it is still daytime. The effect of this is to suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. With low melatonin levels, our bodies cannot wind down and fall asleep.

Using the wrong pillow: Good alignment is also very important for a good night’s sleep. The body needs a chance to recuperate and every bone and muscle needs to be supported well. Using the wrong pillow could be detrimental to a restful sleep. If your neck, shoulders, and back are not supported well, you can cause tension in the spine and surrounding muscles. Physical stress on our bodies can result in discomfort and even severe pain which interferes with the quality of our sleep. Having a pillow that is poorly made or loses its shape can cause you to toss and turn. Repeatedly sleeping with a bad pillow can lead to chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back and interrupt your sleep. You should upgrade your pillow today and a great place to do that is at Luxe Pillow.

I can't sleep

Drinking alcohol: Studies have shown that while alcohol might help you to fall asleep faster, it disrupts REM sleep. REM or rapid eye movement sleep is the second phase of sleep during which we dream. This phase is believed to be the most restorative part of sleep. REM sleep is also the time when we process the events of the day and form long-term memories. When alcohol disrupts this phase of the sleep cycle, it affects all of these functions. Consuming alcohol too close to bedtime can also result in sleep apnea and an increased chance of waking up throughout the night.

Eating too late: When we eat too close to bedtime, our blood-sugar levels spike, which in turn causes a release of insulin to assist in absorption by our cells. At the same time, as we begin to fall asleep, our metabolism slows down and our digestive processes become sluggish. Because of the changes in our body chemistry, while we are falling asleep, the sudden rise and fall of blood sugar is interpreted as an emergency and our cortisol (stress hormone) rises. Cortisol inversely affects the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, and as one increases, the other decreases, causing a disruption in our sleep.

Sleeping in too late: Our bodies follow a cycle of sleep and wakefulness. On average, an adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep and sixteen hours of wakefulness give or take an hour either way. This cycle is regulated by our hormones which rise and fall guided by day-and-night changes; light, and darkness. During the day, melatonin levels are low and these slowly start to rise towards the evening. By the time it is dark outside, the level of our sleep hormone is enough to make us feel drowsy and eventually fall asleep. Consequently, while we are sleeping, melatonin levels start to drop which leads us to a stage of wakefulness. On waking up each morning, the cycle starts again. If we consistently keep sleeping in and waking up late in the mornings, we are resetting our body clocks so that the build-up of melatonin starts later each day. Eventually, we reach a point where we are unable to fall asleep until late into the night because our body isn’t receiving the right cues from the brain. Because of this, it makes sense to stick to a consistent routine of going to bed on time and waking up on time to allow our bodies to follow their natural rhythm.

These are the main reasons why a lot of us are not sleeping well at night. If you've been asking yourself "Why can't I fall asleep?!"  Take a closer look at your lifestyle and understand the factors that affect your sleep. A lack of good quality sleep could wreak havoc within our systems. Everything from our energy levels to concentration to creativity is determined by how well we sleep. Just a few small changes could make a world of difference.