We’ve all been there. It’s 01:00am, you’ve got things to do tomorrow, and you just cannot seem to get to sleep - but why? If this is becoming a pattern then it could be due to one of these reasons…
Blue Light Exposure
Our phones and devices emit blue light, which tricks the brain into thinking that we need to be awake and alert.
Exposure to blue light at bedtime can disrupt our circadian rhythm by blocking the natural signals that our brain sends that say ‘hey, it’s dark and our bodies need to rest, maybe we should sleep’.
As much as it’s embarrassing to admit, your parents and grandparents are right when they say ‘it’s because of that phone’…
Thankfully, there are ways to counteract this. Try enabling ‘night shift’ on your phone, which reduces blue light, or listening to a podcast instead of watching a video before bedtime. You can even get blue light glasses to reduce your exposure to blue light throughout the day.
You’ve Eaten Not Long Ago
Food is fuel! The calories in food provide us with energy, which tricks the brain into thinking we need to be awake. This is why it’s not recommended to eat past 20:00pm if you’re trying to sleep at around 22:00-23:00pm.
You may hear that eating past a certain time makes you gain weight - this is a myth. This will just keep you up longer at night, making you tired in the morning and more likely to reach for a quick pick-me-up.
Stress and Anxiety
Mindfulness and self-care can help to some degree, but if your mental health is seriously disrupting your sleep cycle, it’s time to speak to your GP.
Your doctor should talk through the side effects of any medication with you, but it’s easy to miss one or two. Healthcare providers are usually happy to alter a dose or swap your medications if they are having adverse effects - it’s always worth a call!
Another option would be to take medication such as melatonin to help you drift off, in addition to any regular medication.
However, you should contact your local pharmacy to see if you can take melatonin or sleep aids in conjunction with your regular medication or health conditions, and never take more than the recommended amount.
You’re Just Not Tired
This sounds simple, and sometimes it really is!
If you’ve been sitting at a desk or laying in bed all day, you may simply not be tired enough to sleep. It might feel as if your brain is tired, but your body just isn’t.
If this sounds like you, try going for a walk or doing a short, productive task to wear yourself out.
It’s awful not being able to get to sleep, and even worse that there are a million reasons why this could be the case! Hopefully, this list can help to narrow it down.