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Why You’re Not Falling Asleep

Why You’re Not Falling Asleep, the Real Reason:

I can’t sleep. We’ve all said it before, but we seldom ever do much to change our habits- and no, turning over the pillow doesn’t count (though nothing ever felt better). We toss and turn, watch old reruns until 3 am, and post Facebook statuses such as: “Like this if you can’t sleep.” The next day we show up to school or work running on fumes. Before you know it you’re arguing with Jim and Nancy at the water cooler over who gets by on the least amount of shuteye. Suddenly, it’s trendy not to sleep so we don’t, but deep down you wish you could sleep more. Before you go diagnosing yourself with insomnia, blaming the neighbor’s beagle, or stealing your aunts Ambien- consider a few things:

Your body is like a car.  You can put healthy foods into your body and workout on a regular basis, but like a car if you keep driving for thousands and thousands of miles without stopping, you’re going to break down. Your engine needs to rest to run right.

Why do you need sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation adults should sleep 7 – 9 hours; I personally think 8 should be a minimum, but we’re all different. There are dozens of reasons why you should sleep more. Concerned about your figure? Your body burns fat and repairs muscle while you sleep, and it does it even better when you don’t wake up frequently throughout the night. While we are on the subject of vanity, not getting enough sleep also ages your skin. Also, if you’re a commuter you should know that the drivers/operators involved in some of the worst accidents in recent history were found to have sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep decreases your sex drive, memory retention, and alertness- among other things. Sleeping in really late on weekends isn’t always the answer either. Sometimes it’s best to take a short 30 minute nap during the day rather than sleeping until 1 pm.

 

What you might be doing wrong. According to Forbes Contributor, David Di Salvo, here are the top 10 reasons why you can’t sleep (including my two cents):

1) Your room isn’t dark enough. David hit this nail on the head. Turn off your TV’s, smartphones and lamps. I know, the bogeyman will jump out of your closet if you don’t leave the hallway light on. Turn it off, turn it all off! Kat Von D’s Instagram photos will still be there in the morning; she just might be the reason you’re not falling asleep.

2) Exercising too late. I’m personally guilty of this. We are all so busy that we barely have any time to do what we need to do. We figure we can be productive with the last couple hours of our day by squeezing in a quick workout, but that gets our heart rates up and keeps us awake. Try working out earlier or in the morning.

3) Drinking alcohol too late. In my opinion, drinking any fluids within the last hour of being awake will warrant you several late night bathroom trips (and maybe a stubbed toe). Coming from an Italian family, we often had espresso and sambuca at the end of the night, I’m sure that was a great idea.

4) Room temperature too warm. Sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a politician hooked up to a lie detecting cattle prod. I’ve found that this is the real culprit of my own sleep issues and I’m glad David pointed it out. If you are too hot to stay asleep remove a layer or change the temperature in your home.

5) Caffeine still in your system. We all want that edge when staying up late to finish our work, but drinking caffeine before bed will keep you up. Drink your espresso in the morning.

6) Clockwatching. Remember those books you never read? Use them to cover your clocks; and stop glancing at your iPhone every time you wake up.

7) Getting up to watch TV until you’re sleepy. Can’t fall back to sleep, so you think a rerun of Friends is the answer? Nope. Chandler and Monica aren’t going to give you a quality slumber, but they will stir up some brain activity- keeping you from getting the good kind of sleep. Can’t sleep without sound? Just turn on a fan, the sound is soothing.

8) Trying to problem-solve in the middle of the night. Don’t try to figure out all your life issues the moment you put your head on the pillow, save it for the next day. Worrying about your student loans and car payments at 1 am isn’t going to yield many results.

9) Eating protein too close to bedtime. I find that eating anything right before I go to bed usually hurts the quality of my sleep, protein especially takes extra energy to digest.

10) Smoking before bedtime. Sorry smokers, you’re never off the hook. Most smokers feel like a cigarette relaxes them, but David points out that nicotine is a stimulant. Smoking before bed could be the reason you wake up several times every night.

What’s the real reason you’re not falling asleep? These are all very logical explanations as to why you might not be getting that quality shuteye you long for. Before you sign up for sleep camp, try ruling out the above reasons. Also if you’d like to view David Di Salvo’s full post click here.

Sleep well!