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Exploring the Difficulties of Falling Asleep|man in bed holding clock|man taking medicine|coffee cup

Sleep

Exploring the Difficulties of Falling Asleep

If you’re someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep regularly, you’re certainly not alone. An inability to fall asleep that affects many individuals worldwide. While insomnia is certainly one of the common problems that feature the symptom of being unable to fall asleep, it is not the only factor that can cause it.

Highlighted below are some of the key reasons why many individuals struggle to fall asleep. 1

falling asleep


Insomnia


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep and/or to stay asleep at night. Because everyone has different bodily sleeping requirements, insomnia is primarily defined by the overall quality of sleep that an individual receives.

While you might think that you are sleeping enough, your sleep cycle may be getting interrupted throughout the night, leading to restless sleep. Though insomnia is a sleep disorder, the underlying cause of insomnia is not necessarily going to be the same from person-to-person.

In fact, individuals can develop insomnia from drinking coffee late at night, using blue-light-emitting electronics, and more.

Stress and Anxiety


Many individuals suffer from high levels of anxiety and stress which can lead to the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. When your mind is racing and you’re constantly thinking about something and panicking, it can be difficult to put yourself back into a relaxed state and fall asleep. Because of this, relieving your anxiety and stress levels through relaxation techniques or meditation is the best way to combat this issue if it’s keeping you from getting a full night's rest.

man taking medicine


Medications


Some medications have side effects that could interfere with the ability to either fall asleep or stay asleep. A lot of medications that can cause sleep issues are medications that provide stimulating effects like ADHD medication. Other medications that could cause significant issues with sleep would be antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and some oral contraceptives.

Improper Sleep Climate


Believe it or not, but one of the biggest factors that can influence the ability to not only fall asleep but to stay asleep is an optimal sleep climate. Having an environment that is too warm can negatively influence sleep quality. Because of this, you want to sleep in a cool (but not too cool) environment to achieve the highest quality of sleep possible. 2

The reason why the climate matters so much has to do with body temperature. When you fall asleep, your body temperature decreases and works to achieve a set temperature that is lower than normal. If the climate is either too hot or too cold, your body will be unable to achieve the set temperature that the brain is looking to achieve.

If you’re in a cooler room than your optimal set temperature, it’s going to be much easier to fall asleep. In fact, the Sleep Foundation notes that an average temperature of 65 degrees makes for the optimal sleep temperature. 3

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this works both ways. If the drop in temperature is too significant, it can cause you to become uncomfortable and wake up.

Improper Associations


Another factor that may result in the inability to fall asleep is improperly associating your bed with something other than sleep. For example, a lot of people tend to get into bed and spend hours playing with electronics or doing other stimulating activities that could confuse the brain.

Instead, you want to keep other activities out of bed and out of the bedroom entirely. That way, you train your mind to understand that laying in bed means it is time to go to sleep. The entire goal is to properly associate lying in bed and using the bedroom for sleep alone. This can effectively train the brain and body to learn how to react when you lay down in bed.

Along with this, if you are using blue-light-emitting devices, this could simulate daylight which can completely disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep quality. While a lot of devices now have blue light filters, it is still best to avoid using screens at night.

coffee cup


Diet


Another cause for sleep issues could be dietary decisions. One of the biggest issues that a lot of individuals run into is drinking coffee and/or caffeine too late at night, resulting in sleep disturbances. 4

If you are going to be drinking caffeine, you want to stop drinking it after 3 p.m. This provides the body with plenty of time to process it without interfering with your sleep cycle.

Conclusion


There are plenty of different reasons you might be suffering from an inability to fall asleep and sleep issues can vary from person-to-person. However, noticing that you’re having difficulties falling asleep and identifying the cause can help you better-address the issue and improve your sleep quality moving forward.

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