Why Can’t I Fall Asleep?

Sleep insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects 10% of Americans. This disorder is often overlooked; according to a national survey more than 60% of adults have never been asked about the quality of their sleep by a physician. Sleep represents a third of every person’s life and it has a tremendous impact on how we live, function, and perform during the other two-thirds of our lives. Good sleep promotes good health and is as vital as the air we breathe and the food we eat.

There are several ways to combat sleep insomnia. Treatment for insomnia consists of improving sleep habits, behavior therapy, and identifying and treating underlying causes. In some cases, sleeping pills may be prescribed by your doctor. (Sleeping pills can be dangerous; it is extremely important to monitor for side effects and keep your physician informed of any changes.)

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What Treatment is right for me?

The first step in fighting sleep insomnia is seeking treatment. Everyone is different and has their unique sleep habits. There are many external factors from our day-to-day lives that can affect the quality of sleep. What may work for someone else, my not work for you. Before seeking treatment it is crucial to identify what is causing your sleep insomnia.

Use of Technology before bed.

Exposure to the blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions at unnatural hours prevents the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm.

Diet

The food we eat, when we eat, and the amount we eat can affect our sleep patterns. Fasting causes the body to stay awake longer. When the body is hungry, it is unable to relax, which may cause insomnia. Studies of high-fat diets suggest eating abundant healthy fats can improve sleep quality.

Exercise

Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety, and generally improves sleep. But for some people, exercising within a few hours of bedtime may cause problems getting to sleep. It is important to find a workout regimen that works for you. This may require some trial and error to see how working out affects the quality of your sleep.

Stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions

Stress and anxiety can cause sleep insomnia. Lack of sleep can also cause an anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression, please seeks professional treatment.

Smoking cigarettes

Cigarette smokers can easily develop insomnia if they smoke frequently and close to bedtime. A study found that women in late mid-life who smoke are even more susceptible to developing insomnia.

Jet lag or shift work (which both affect the rhythm of your biological clock)

Jet lag is a result of a mismatch between the external environment and our internal biological clock. Shift work can be a difficult way of life, and will certainly change your circadian rhythm.

Chronic pain, migraines, pre-menstrual syndrome and other medical conditions

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. Being in constant pain can be unnerving and lead to issues such as difficulty falling asleep and restless leg syndrome. Talk with your doctor about managing any painful medical conditions you have.

Unsupportive mattress or pillow

If you’re waking up with back, neck, or joint pains it may be time for a new mattress or pillow. Over time mattresses can lose the support they once had, leading to sagging and body impressions from regular use. Without the proper support for your spine and core muscles you’ll notice a more restless sleep as your body tries to adapt to the unsupportive surface. If you’re looking for a new mattress be sure to get measured using scientific calculations to ensure you’re purchasing a mattress with the correct support for you. Your body will thank you!

Kick sleep insomnia to the curb! Once you identify the cause of your sleep insomnia you will be able to seek treatment and begin sleeping well at night.