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Top 8 Reasons You Cannot Sleep

Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by Ashwini G

As important as sleep is, even the best of us miss out on it. Be it stress or illness, travel, or some obligation, the interruptions to sleep are plenty. Lack of good quality sleep during the night can not only affect your next day, but it might have more grave health consequences in the long run. Do you often keep tossing and turning in bed at night, desperately trying to sleep? Do you also wonder why can’t I sleep at night? If your answer to either of the questions is yes, you are in the right place. Read on and find out.

Why Can’t I Sleep at Night?

If you spend your night thinking, why can’t I sleep at night, here are a few reasons that might help you find the answer:


While you might not realize it, your diet can significantly impact your sleep patterns. It is a known fact that caffeine can stay in your body for up to 6 hours and keep you wide awake. Well, it’s not just coffee that can be the reason behind your sleepless night. Rather, consuming heavy and spicy food right before bed can also cause heartburn or obesity that makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Lack of Exercise

Do you barely exercise? It might be the reason behind your lack of sleep. If your day majorly involves sitting in one place, your body doesn’t use the energy or get tired, and you might even feel fresh at bedtime. Including a good workout in your daily schedule can help you sleep better at night.


To be able to fall asleep, it is essential to have a relaxed mind. But, it becomes harder to fall asleep when tension and anxiety are weighing you down. If you are someone with anxiety or stress, you might stay up all night worrying about past incidents or future expectations and everything in between. Anxiety disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can also cause nightmares during the night that may disrupt your sleep.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a medical condition that causes a crawling or creepy feeling in the legs. The unpleasant sensation caused by it can happen during the nighttime and restrict sleep. You can get relieved only by moving your legs. Although RLS majorly affects women who are going through hormonal changes, men can also have it. Doctors also link RLS to increased risk of depression and heart disorders in women.

Unhealthy Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a broader term used to describe your sleeping pattern, habits, and environment. The choices you make can significantly impact the quantity and quality of sleep you get at night. If you’ve been staying up till late on a regular basis, it might affect your sleep cycle. Besides that, the environment of your room can also be responsible for keeping you up. The temperature, bedding, lights, and sounds in your bedroom might be the reason for your sleeplessness.

Chronic Pain

Do you have chronic and debilitating pain? If yes, it might be your answer to why can’t I sleep at night. Dealing with excruciating pain can cause discomfort and keep you away from a sound sleep. Similarly, lack of sleep can further make you more sensitive to pain and inflammation.

Sleep Apnea

It is a common disorder that can affect people of all ages. Sleep apnea happens when the upper airways get either entirely or partially blocked and interrupt your breathing while you are asleep. Snoring is a primary symptom of this sleep disorder, but you may also feel extremely sleepy during the day. It can also stop breathing for short periods of time that can wake you up time and again at night.


Suffering from depression can be one of the reasons for sleeplessness. Dealing with depressive thoughts can hamper your mental peace and may keep you up at night thinking. The doctors ideally prescribe antidepressants to fight the symptom so depression, but they might also add to the problem at hand. Antidepressants, mainly SSRIs, are known to interrupt the sleep cycle.

What Can I Do to Improve Sleep Quality?

Although it might seem like a tough task, improving sleep is not as tricky as you think. Here are a few ways to get better sleep at night:

  • Change Sleep Habits: Try to tweak your sleep habits to get a sound sleep of 6-8 hours. You can start by fixing a time to go to bed and limiting the amount of light and sound that comes into your room.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Spicy Food: Make sure you avoid consuming caffeine and spicy food if you are having trouble sleeping. There must be a gap of 2-3 hours between your meal and bedtime if you want to sleep well.
  • Relax Your Mind: Indulge in relaxing activities that you enjoy before hitting the bed. It will help take away the negative thoughts and calm your mind.
  • Consult Your Doctor: If you still find it difficult to fall asleep, it is wise to talk to your doctor. They will be able to recommend the best solution.

Quality of Sleep is Important

With the hectic lifestyle and increasing work pressure, it is the sleep that gets affected the most. People tend to keep missing out on quality sleep for nights one end and end up with more grave issues. It can hamper your immune level, productivity, performance, and overall health. If you’ve been staying up wondering why can’t I sleep at night, it is time to make some changes to your life. Find the reason why you stay up and kick sleeplessness out of your life.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do When I Cannot Sleep?

Staying in bed while tossing and turning can make the situation worse for you. So, it is best to get out of bed and indulge in things you like. Try to do something relaxing, like reading, painting, drinking tea, or taking a bath.

How Can I Fall Asleep Instantly?

There are plenty of things for you to do to fall asleep quickly. You can listen to soothing music, adjust your sleeping position, or use essential oils in your room.

Does Lying in Bed Count as Sleep?

No, lying in bed doesn’t count as sleep. It can give rest to your body, but not your mind, so it will not account for sleeping.

What Foods Will Make Me Sleepy?

Consuming a diet with an abundance of proteins and carbohydrates can make you sleepy. You can eat fish, poultry, cheese, or curd.

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