This Is Why You’re Struggling To Fall Asleep Right Now
Ahh, sleep—what would we do without it? Not much, actually. If you're someone who regularly struggles to hit that magic seven-hour mark when it comes to snoozing then you'll know that a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your overall wellbeing over time. Beyond the fact that your body actually needs time to repair itself and recalibrate overnight, your concentration, memory and problem-solving skills suffer the next day as well. That can make it difficult to function properly at work, school or anything that requires that you leave your bed. There is a range of common reasons why you might not be achieving the blissful sleep you dream of and we've listed them below.
Your body clock is confused
Your circadian rhythm, sometimes referred to as your body clock, is a system that lets you know when it's time to do things like sleep and wake up. For example, when your body detects light it triggers awakening hormones to let you know the day has started. The opposite goes for a lack of light or when the sun goes down where your body will naturally begin to wind down in preparation for sleep. With many of us working from home with changed schedules, we're waking up, exercising, and eating at different times than usual. This can all play a part in throwing off your body's natural rhythms and therefore make it harder to rest properly at night. Try to keep a predictable schedule during this time so your body will begin to adapt to your new routine.
You're overthinking things
It can seem like as soon as your head hits the pillow at night your mind suddenly becomes filled with all of the thoughts and worries of the day for you to ruminate over. You need to be calm in order to drift off easily so if you're finding yourself staying up staring at the ceiling with your mind running, it could be a good time to switch up your nightly routine so that you're not going straight from your phone screen to the pillow. Schedule in an hour of time to relax, reading a book, taking a bath or practising meditation so that you've had time to quiet your mind first.
You're not exercising as much
Exercising and sleeping go hand in hand. If you manage to fit in a workout during the day you're more likely to be able to get to sleep at night. And, when you've woken up from a great rest, you're also more likely to have the energy to get your body moving throughout the day. With a change in daily routine and life generally, it makes sense that our usual activities have been interrupted. To get yourself back on the path to restful sleep, build your daily exercise up slowly until it becomes an automatic part of your day again.
Your eating habits have changed
Still munching on Easter eggs as an afternoon snack? Same. Just like your body clock can become a bit confused with an adjusted daily routine, a change in the way you're eating can contribute to interrupted sleep as well. Now that we're becoming more resourceful with cooking at home, there are a few things that could be keeping you awake. The first is eating your meals later than you normally would because you have more time at home. To give yourself the best shot at a perfect snooze, try to keep meals to at least a couple of hours before bedtime as well as your evening glass of red. Working from home also makes it easy to head to the coffee machine any time you need a lift, resulting in more caffeine consumed throughout the day. While a morning cup is great for getting you ready to tackle the day, multiple cups throughout can make it really hard to fall asleep at night.
Your phone screen
No surprises here. Our phones, while entertaining and a vital resource for keeping in touch, are one of the main enemies of restful sleep. Our phones radiate blue light that actually stimulates our brains and throws our body out of sync when used at night. It can be tempting to do one last Instagram or Tik Tok scroll while you're in bed, but those minutes could cost you hours of interrupted sleep throughout the night. If you are using your phone at night, switch it on to Night Shift mode to reduce the blue light and try to give your eyes a rest for half an hour before it's time to hit the hay.
If you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.