Help: I Can't Get to Sleep at Night.

June 28, 2024 · John Gallagher
Can't Sleep at Night.

Why Can't I Sleep at Night?

Sleep is a particularly important part of our daily lives. We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, while your body fulfills important processes in digestion, memory, and mood. However, for many people, getting a good night of sleep is more of a struggle than an opportunity. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, you’re not alone.

Let’s explore some common reasons why you might not be receiving the high-quality sleep you deserve.

Why is Sleep Important?

Before diving into the reasons behind sleep troubles and their solutions, let's emphasize just how vital sleep is for our health. Quality sleep plays a critical role in:

  • Physical health: Sleep is the time when our bodies repair and rejuvenate. It helps regulate hormones, strengthen the immune system, and support healthy growth and development.
  • Mental health: Adequate sleep is essential for emotional well-being and cognitive functions. It enhances mood, memory, and concentration while reducing the risk of mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
  • Energy and productivity: A good night's sleep can significantly impact your daily energy levels and overall productivity. Sleep-deprived individuals often struggle with fatigue and reduced performance.
  • Weight management: Poor sleep can disrupt the balance of hormones that regulate appetite and may lead to weight gain and obesity.
  • Quality of life: Sleep is a cornerstone of a healthy, fulfilling life. When sleep is compromised, it can affect every aspect of your day-to-day existence.

Now that we've established the importance of sleep, let's explore some common reasons behind sleep difficulties and effective strategies to combat them.

Common Sleep Troubles — and How to Address Them

Sleep troubles can be frustrating and impact your overall well-being. Understanding the common reasons behind sleep difficulties can help you identify potential culprits and work towards better sleep hygiene. Here are some common reasons for sleep troubles:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Screen time
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Poor diet
  • Environmental factors
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Medical conditions

Sleep troubles can be frustrating and impact your overall well-being — which is why addressing these challenges is a top priority. Understanding your sleep difficulties, and implementing practical solutions, is a great way to improve your sleep quality over time.

Here’s how:

  • Establish a bedtime routine: Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. This may include reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises.
  • Limit naps: While short power naps can be rejuvenating, long or irregular daytime naps can disrupt your sleep cycle. If you nap during the day, keep it brief (20-30 minutes).
  • Watch your diet: Be mindful of your food and drink choices, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. Avoid heavy, spicy, or acidic foods that can cause discomfort.
  • Stay active: Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment: Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Manage stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or journaling.

If your sleep troubles persist despite trying various self-help strategies, consult a healthcare professional or sleep specialist for a comprehensive evaluation.

Should I See a Sleep Specialist?

If you've been battling persistent sleep troubles and have tried various strategies to improve your sleep without success, you might be wondering whether it's time to seek help from a sleep specialist. Sleep specialists are medical professionals with expertise in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Let’s explore some signs and scenarios that indicate it might be a good idea to consult a sleep specialist:

  • Chronic sleep problems: If your sleep difficulties have persisted for several weeks or even months, it's essential to address them. Chronic insomnia, frequent night awakenings, or other ongoing sleep disturbances may require professional evaluation.
  • Daytime fatigue and impairment: Experiencing daytime fatigue, excessive sleepiness, or impaired functioning due to sleep problems can significantly impact your quality of life. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake or alert during the day, it's time to seek expert advice.
  • Loud snoring and breathing pauses: If you or your partner notice loud snoring or episodes where you stop breathing during sleep, it could be a sign of sleep apnea—a potentially serious condition that warrants prompt attention from a sleep specialist.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): Uncontrollable leg movements, sensations in your limbs, or kicking during sleep may be indicative of RLS or PLMD. These disorders can disrupt your sleep and should be evaluated by a sleep specialist.
  • Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is characterized by sudden, uncontrollable episodes of daytime sleepiness and may include symptoms like cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions). If you suspect narcolepsy, a sleep specialist can provide an accurate diagnosis.
  • Shift work sleep disorder: If you work irregular hours or night shifts and experience sleep difficulties as a result, a sleep specialist can help you develop strategies to manage your sleep patterns and improve your overall well-being.
  • Parasomnias: Parasomnias include behaviors such as sleepwalking, night terrors, or acting out dreams. These can be disruptive and even dangerous. Consulting a sleep specialist can help you understand and manage these conditions.

If you're grappling with persistent sleep difficulties that are affecting your daily life and well-being, consulting a sleep specialist can be a valuable step. These specialists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of sleep disorders, and they can provide personalized solutions to help you achieve better sleep and improved overall health. Don't hesitate to seek expert guidance when sleep troubles become a significant concern.

How’s Your Mattress?

Poor-quality mattresses are another common reason why many people don’t get the sleep they need. In the same way that a great mattress leads to restorative sleep, a bad mattress can leave you feeling irritated, groggy, and unrested. Using a high-grade mattress is one of the best ways to protect the quality of your sleep, no matter your preferred sleep pattern.

If you’re a mattress away from your best night’s sleep, Mattress Warehouse can help. Our bedMATCH sleep diagnostic program analyzes your complete sleep profile before recommending the best mattress options for you. It considers your height, weight, body style, sleep position, and other metrics to pair you with mattresses options at all price ranges. No matter your sleep style or your price point, we’ll help connect you with a mattress that protects your rest, limits motion, and delivers the sleep you need. Visit your local Mattress Warehouse or take the bedMATCH quiz today to browse mattresses right now.