We’ve all been there. It’s 3 a.m., we have an important meeting the next morning, we’re completely exhausted and the sleep gods have chosen that evening to torture our souls.
It comes without warning and, while you’re struggling to fight them and get your Zs, the anxiety you begin to feel as you realize the following day is going to be longer and more arduous than usual only perpetuates the problem.
As with any health issue you’re facing, you have to identify the culprit and nip it in the bud. You already know that the source of your sleeplessness isn’t utter exhaustion, so we’ll rule that out. Chances are you’ll probably identify with one of these 10 common reasons why you aren’t sleeping at night.
The root of all evil. When we’re stressed during the day, it isn’t a piece of cake to turn it off when the lights go out. The brain keeps going. And going. And, at 1 a.m., it’s likely not going to a place worth visiting. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this one. You’re going to have to pinpoint the source of your stress and tackle it — while the sun is up — so that you can rest easily at night.
2. Your spouse
Our husbands and partners are usually a source of comfort in the middle of the night, but they can be a serious hindrance to our sanity — and sleep — if they snore. If your husband has no intention of sleeping on his back, or simply doesn’t find that position comfortable, consider purchasing him a body pillow that will keep him in a side position that encourages less snoring.
3. You sleep in
You’ve had a difficult week and you deserve a break on Saturday morning. But, if sleeping at night proves a constant struggle, you’d be better off treating yourself with a morning run or breakfast out than by sleeping in. If you don’t maintain a consistent sleep schedule every day, even on the weekends, your body may suffer in the long run and decide to take its revenge out on you Sunday night.
4. Your bed has become your home and office
Experts say your bed should be the place where you engage in everybody’s favorite two S activities: sleep and sex. That’s it. If you’re using your bed to conduct business meetings, eat lunch and read, you’re going to find it more difficult to wind down at the end of the day and find comfort in a place that is usually a hotbed (bad pun) of activity.
5. You feast right before bed
We all know we’re not supposed to eat after 7 p.m. for reasons that have to do with carbs, fat and all that boring stuff. But, an even better reason not to snack — or if you’re truly starving, choose something extremely light and void of carbs — is that it is going to affect your digestive system and could cause heartburn.
6. You aren’t eating enough
One the other hand, if you’re following a strict diet and seriously restricting your calorie intake during the day, your body may nudge you throughout the night because it has a serious message that you’re ignoring: feed me please. If you listen closely, it’s not asking you to feed it cookies or trying to sabotage your weight loss efforts. But, it still needs protein. Fuel. And it isn’t going to let you sleep unless you’re treating it with kindness.
7. Your bedroom is distracting
We have so many electronic devices these days that we sometimes fail to realize every corner of our room is glowing — and that all of that light is keeping us from settling in. Eliminate as many computers, phones or lighted alarm clocks as you can and invest in a set of blackout curtains to create a true sanctuary in your bedroom.
More: 8 Surprising benefits of good sleeping habits
8. You haven’t discovered the power of white noise
Three words: white noise machine. Imagine never having to hear someone stomp around in the upstairs apartment, cars honking on the street or even your annoying phone email alert beep-beeping away. With the exception of those who are blessed with the ability to fall asleep in a war zone, silence — especially when you’re trying to fall asleep — is golden.
9. Your hormones are changing
Progesterone is a hormone that promotes sleep. When you’re pregnant and your body is flooded with it, you could easily take 10 naps during the day and turn in for the night at 7 p.m. But, when you’re going through changes like perimenopause or menopause — which can start as early as your late 30s — your ovaries decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone, which could lead to insomnia. Speak to your doctor if you feel this may be the case for you.
10. Your medication is to blame
There is a long list of medications that could cause insomnia, including those with beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure and antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil. Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing insomnia in order to determine if there are alternative medicines you could consider.