Why Can't I Sleep?
"What are the Reasons People Can't Sleep?"
By: Terrence Gaddis
"Why can't I sleep?" It is a common refrain of millions of Americans. Although the estimates range
widely, it is commonly understood that millions of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation - multiple sources quote
the number of those suffering as high as one third of our population. Most of us do not think of it as an epidemic,
but it truly is. The financial estimates of loss in the US due to sleep deprivation range up as high as $60 billion
per year. But it is not the financial cost that is the most overwhelming: there is a human suffering cost that is
even higher. For instance, it has been estimated that driver tiredness is involved in 30-40% of all heavy truck
accidents. Sleep debt has also been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks. The lack of sleep our country
endures has a significant impact on our lives.
There are at least 84 different sleep disorders that have been identified by medical
researchers and health practioners.
But that still leaves us with the question: "why can't I sleep?"
As with most maladies and inflictions, the answer is complex. The root source of our lack of sleep is not singular.
In fact, the source of our tiredness and sleep debt includes multiple reasons ranging from physiological to
psychological to environmental disturbances. Although the causes are varied, there are some patterns and
commonalities to the source our tiredness. Some of the most frequent answers to the question "why can't I sleep?"
Many people who have trouble sleeping continually glance at the clock to see what
time it is. This simply induces more worry and stress about how tired they will be the next day and becomes a
self-fulfilling prophecy. Do not look at the clock once you get into bed. Clockwatching will not help you
As we know, caffeine is a stimulant, which can interfere with you sleep and relaxation patterns. Caffeine can
remain in your body for up to 14 hours. One strategy is to simply limit your caffeine intake as you get farther
into your day.
Sleeping has Become a Job
Some people dread trying to sleep so much that it literally becomes a job or a chore for them. This only increases
stress and anxiety levels making it more difficult to sleep. Try some of the other suggestions on this list and see
if your anxiety about sleep has decreased enough to make it a more stress free event.
Alcohol prevents the brain from getting into deep REM sleep. After drinking, the human brain only achieves light
sleep and poorer quality sleep - which increases your sleep debt.
Like caffeine, nicotine is also a stimulant that impacts your heart. This stimulation can impact your sleep
patterns and quality of sleep. Additionally, the longer periods of sleep can also induce nicotine withdrawal which
also impacts the quality of sleep.
Sleep routines help the body/mind form patterns that make it easier for people to cope. Sleep routines work the
same. The more regular your routine, the easier it becomes. Avoid sleeping in on weekends, or staying up beyond
normal waking times, disrupts this pattern.
Lighting signals the mind and body. Sleeping in the dark signals the body to sleep, while bright light helps the
mind and body wake up. Ensure your environment aligns these signals for better sleep quality.
Not eating enough, or eating too much just prior to sleep are also potential sleep disruptors that can impact a
person's sleep patterns. Avoid either situation to increase your sleep satisfaction.
Another answer ot the why can't I sleep question involves the amount exercise a person has. Physical exertion of
20-30 minutes a day tends to assist inviduals quality of sleep at night. Avoid exercising three hours prior to
going to bed as it can interfere with your sleep.
For many, napping actually interferes with night time sleeping. Avoid napping if you find difficulty sleeping at
night when you do so. Shorter naps (10-15 minues) tend to have less impact on night time sleep.
Excessive liquid intake increases pressure on your bladder. This increased pressure can interupt night time sleep.
Avoid exessive liquid consumption late at night.
Some medicinces have side effects that can include difficulty sleeping. If you find this to be the case, talk to
Remaining in Bed When You can not Sleep
If you have been having trouble sleeping after 30 minutes of trying, get out of bed. Do something calming and
relaxing and try going back to bed when you are ready.
The final answer to the why I can't sleep question may be a sleep disorder. If you have considered many of the
above causes and explored the possible solutions and you are still having trouble sleeping, then maybe it is time
to consult a physician. There are at least 84 reported sleep disorders. If you have addressed these common
behavioural, diet, and environmental causes it may be time to speak with a medical professional and seek out their
Terrence Gaddis has been fascinated with sleep maladies since suffering through a case of insomnia in his youth.
From this time forward, he has studied all the causes, treatments and news about this phenomenon.
Go-to-Sleep.net is a website dedicated to the study of sleep. Everything that you could want to to know about how
to go to sleep, including: sleep disorders, causes, cures, and studies.