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Why You May Be Struggling to Fall Asleep

Many people are well aware of the importance of sleeping an adequate number of hours every night. It’s something we all strive for, but struggle to achieve from time to time. The result is a day of exhaustion following a lack of sleep, which can have profound effects on your work and personal life. The trick is falling asleep and staying asleep, which is often much easier said than done.

Once you’ve awoken in the middle of the night after having successfully fallen asleep, re-entering REM sleep can be extremely difficult. Even simply thinking about the fact that you are awake can prevent you from falling back asleep. In order to address this issue and tackle it head on, you must first understand what exactly is keeping you up, and how to remedy it.

Working out and the daily exercise you receive throughout your day can be a large factor in quality of sleep. Failing to receive enough of this exercise can result in lost sleep. Because your body is at rest more frequently during the day, the time in which you need rest the most will be thrown off. Even if daily workouts or going to the gym is not part of your standard routine, moving about and simply going for a walk can spell the difference between lost sleep and and a well-rested morning.

What should not come as a surprise to many, stress, anxiety, and depression can all contribute to trouble falling asleep as well. Once your mind begins to race, it can be difficult to relax. Negative events that occur at your place of work or at home, deadlines, personal issues, and other negative aspects can all lead conflicting thoughts, causing your brain to run wild. As mentioned before, exercise is a great way to clear the mind, and meditation can channel any negative feelings you may be harboring elsewhere.

As I have discussed in the past, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders often lead to a lack of sleep, as well as trouble staying asleep. When your breathing stops and starts randomly throughout the night, the chances of you waking up from this are increased significantly, and with sleep apnea, these moments of unrest rarely stop. Talk to your doctor or sleep specialist if you know or think you suffer from sleep apnea to properly diagnose the disorder, and work to reduce the symptoms.

Outside factors like temperature and noise are very common contributors of lost sleep. Because our body temperature drops upon falling asleep, sleeping in a room that is too hot, or being covered with so many blankets as to cause sweating can prevent you from entering REM sleep. Similarly (for lighter sleepers), noise can keep you up as well. Whether your window is open letting in sounds from the outside world, or your spouse or roommate is waking up and moving about, even the slightest noises can wake certain people up. Sound machines for white noise or wearing earplugs can effectively prevent these small inconveniences from disturbing your sleep.