What happens when you try to fall asleep? Do you toss and turn in bed, count objects in vain, or stare at the ceiling? Or, do you find yourself waking up several times at night?
If your answer is YES, then you have difficulty falling asleep. Many people experience trouble falling asleep at one point in their life. In some cases, it is due to an illness, temporary interruption to your normal routine, stress, and travel. It is also possible that you have a sleep disorder.
Sleep difficulty can affect your mental and physical health. It can also make you suffer from trouble concentrating during the day or frequent headaches. Some people only feel reinvigorated after sleeping for six to seven hours.Adults need at least eight hours of sleep to feel refreshed and rested. In addition to frequent headaches or trouble concentrating, other signs of trouble falling asleep include:
• Waking up early
• Taking longer to fall asleep
• Daytime fatigue
• Low energy throughout the day
• Dark circles under the eyes
If you also have trouble controlling emotions, react slowly, and need caffeinated drinks to keep going, it is a sign you have a sleep disorder. But what causes sleeplessness, and is there treatment for such?
Causes of sleeping difficulties
Many possible reasons can explain why you are unable to sleep. Your sleeping problems may fall under three categories that include your medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and sleeping habits. While some of these causes are minor, meaning they can improve through self-care, others require medical attention.
1 Don’t look at your watch
It’s normal to wake up in the middle of the night. However, the inability to go back to sleep can spoil a good night’s rest.
People who wake up in the middle of the night tend to see the clock and are obsessed with the fact that they can not sleep.
“Watch watch” is common for people suffering from insomnia. This behavior can lead to insomnia anxiety.
Making things worse, waking up regularly without sleep can cause your body to develop a routine. Therefore, you may find yourself waking up every night in the middle of the night.
If possible, it is better to remove the clock from the room. If you need an alarm clock in the room, you can turn on the clock and avoid seeing it when you wake up in the middle of the night.
2 Turn off screens
The screen emitted artificial light (or “blue”) can disrupt the body’s sleep preparation by stimulating the hormone during the day. Reduce your exposure by turning off your pc, phone, and tv at least one hour before bedtime.
consider making a small investment, and buy blue light glasses.
Can not sleep, but do not want to give up TV at night? At least dim the brightness of the screen, either manually or with the help of automatic programs.
3 Avoid napping
Naps during the day can also alter the rhythm of day and night, especially those that are more than 2 hours or closer to night.
One study found that students who slept at least three times a week for more than two hours or closer to night sleep had a lower sleep quality than their peers.
After a bad night’s sleep, it’s easy to take a long nap, especially near the night. But try to avoid this, as it will negatively affect the cycle of healthy sleep.
4 Adjust the temperature
What is your ideal sleeping environment? So, when you’re too hot, put the fan near your face, or tie it up when you’re too cold. Scientifically proven that the ideal temperature of sleep is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, so the best shot!
5 Stop trying so hard
Sounds interesting, and the trick to falling asleep can be trying to stay awake.
When lying on the contents of the bed to be awake and not worry about falling asleep, insomnia has actually proved to fall asleep faster and sleep better. Experts say that this is because trying to stay awake (do not look at the phone or computer, just do nothing) to eliminate the anxiety that people may feel when trying to fall asleep
6. Medical conditions causing sleeping difficulties
Some medical conditions trigger insomnia in people of all ages. These conditions can cause problems falling asleep directly, or they have symptoms that cause sleeplessness. The conditions can include:
• Chronic pain: arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.
• Respiratory problems and allergies
• Neurological conditions: Parkinson’s disease
• Endocrine problems: hyperthyroidism
It is worth mentioning that pain has a correlative relationship with trouble getting sleep. The more pain you feel, the more difficult it is to fall and remain asleep. Similarly, lower threshold or tolerance for pain can cause sleep difficulties.
There are also other medical conditions that can cause sleep disorders. These include insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, parasomnias, and sleep apnea.
Treatment for trouble going to sleep or sleep disorders varies depending on the underlying cause and type of disorder.
Treatment can include:
• Melatonin supplements
• Sleeping pills
• Cold or allergy medication
• Surgery to treat sleep apnea or a breathing device
• Medication for an underlying health problem
7. Lifestyle changes causing sleeping difficulties
The personal habits you adopt and lifestyle changes you make can cause trouble sleeping at night. Some of these changes include:
• Too much caffeine close to bedtime – caffeine causes disruptive effects on sleep patterns and delays timing of the body clock. The result is reduced sleep time.
• Too much alcohol close to bedtime – alcohol disrupts the duration and structure of sleep states. It can also alter sleep time and make it longer for you to fall asleep.
• Spending time on bright screens before bedtime – using a digital device close to bedtime disrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone that tells the body when to sleep or wake up.
• Nighttime exercises close to bedtime – exercises are stimulating activities. The stimulation makes it challenging for the body to relax and fall asleep.
• Poor stress management – stress causes heightened anxiety and varied arousal responses (hyperarousal). These can cause trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
Note that sleep and diet are related. When you eat too close to bedtime, this interferes with your rest patterns. Furthermore, foods and drinks that cause heartburn such as alcohol, peppermint, tomatoes, citrus fruits, etc can disrupt your sleep.
You need to adjust your lifestyle to improve your sleep patterns and quality of sleep. In this case, you should consider:
• Eating a diet full of fish and vegetables, and reduce sugar intake.
• Reducing anxiety and stress by exercising. However, ensure you exercise in the evening or at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
• Limiting your intake of caffeine, especially late in the afternoon or evening.
• Decreasing tobacco and alcohol use.
• Eating meals low on carbohydrates before bedtime
You should also create and stick to a regular sleeping schedule as this can improve the quality of your sleep. Other forms of treatment you should consider include cognitive therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and stimulus control.
8. Sleeping habits causing sleeping difficulties
Some sleeping habits make it difficult for people to sleep. For example, if you find yourself turning, tossing, and switching from back to stomach to side, you are forcing yourself to sleep.
You should never force sleep since you are training the brain to recognize that the bed is not for sleep. You are forcing yourself to sleep if you are:
• Meditating before sleep
• Drinking tea
• Putting on gentle music
• Stretching to relax your body and mind
• Reading a magazine or book before bedtime
• Thinking about your everyday life including boring stuff
In most cases, doing any of these activities before bedtime interferes with the body clock or your sleep patterns. While there is nothing wrong with doing these activities, consider doing them several hours before bedtime.
What you do during the day and before bedtime can have an impact on your quality of sleep. The activities named above can either contribute to trouble getting to sleep or encourage healthy sleep. To treat these habits, consider:
• Keeping a consistent bedtime schedule
• Using your bed for sleep only
• Making your bedroom relaxing and quite
• Avoiding consumption of tea, coffee, or alcohol before bedtime
You need to have a relaxing sleep routine and avoid certain habits that can give you a hard time sleeping.
If you have tried several remedies but still have trouble sleeping at night, visit your doctor or a sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment. The specialist will note your brain waves, sleep patterns, rapid eye movements, and heart rate.