Why Can't I Sleep? How to Fall Asleep Fast

In today’s fast-paced world, sleep deprivation is getting more and more common. So, don’t feel lonely in your struggles.
In this article, you’ll find eight common reasons that might be causing you trouble falling asleep. You’ll also end up with some tips and tricks on how to fall asleep fast.

Why Can’t You Sleep Easily?

There’s no simple answer to this question. It’s often a group of reasons that’s messing with your sleep cycles.
Here are some of the common reasons that cause difficulty in sleeping:

Poor Sleep Habits

Poor sleep habits are common among many people around the world. They don’t only contribute to trouble falling asleep and insomnia, but they also cause various mental health issues.
These habits include:
  • Staying up too late
  • Napping later in the day or taking long naps
  • Irregular sleep schedule

Stress

How many of us go to sleep with so many worries on our minds? It’s normal and common among many people, if not all.
However, persistent stress is the one that lasts for multiple restless nights full of worries in a single week.
If you struggle a lot with stress, you might be developing anxiety that needs to be treated.
In this case, you need to get professional help for your anxiety. Fixing your mental state can fix your sleep problems.

Alcohol

Some people rely on a glass of wine to wind down for the night. A single glass might seem harmless, but indulging is what costs you a lot.
Studies have shown that people with high alcohol use are more likely to struggle with insomnia.
Even if it does help you fall asleep faster, it disturbs the quality of your sleep by interfering with your REM sleep.
Also, drinking a lot of alcohol at night can make you wake up to use the bathroom. This might reduce your sleep quality.
So, it’s best to rely on other methods to wind down for the night, like yoga or meditation.

Too much light exposure

Our brain associates light with mornings. Thus, too much light exposure at night prevents our brain from producing enough melatonin.
Whether you work on your laptop late at night, scroll through social media, or have a nightstand lamp, it all negatively impacts your sleep.
Also, sleeping with lights on has negative impacts on your sleep quality, especially your REM sleep. If you can’t sleep with the lights off, use a red or yellow lamp instead.

Diet

Believe it or not, your diet affects your sleep as well. Eating heavy meals near bedtime sends your digestive system into overdrive.
This makes it harder on you to fall asleep and might cause heartburn as well.
On the other hand, going to bed hungry also affects your sleep. You’ll lie awake in your bed thinking about food. Plus, your blood sugar might even drop while sleeping.

Caffeine

The rush of having a cup of coffee is for sure amazing, but it’ll disturb your sleep later. Caffeine stays in your system for hours with a half-life of about four to six hours.
Caffeine affects your circadian melatonin rhythms. It blocks the sleep-promoting chemical, adenosine, that accumulates in your brain the longer you stay awake to make you feel sleepy.
Instead of drinking coffee in the late afternoon, try drinking green tea or matcha tea. They’re refreshing but contain less caffeine. This way, you get the best of both worlds.

Medications

Some prescription medications cause insomnia. This includes medications for cardiovascular diseases, asthma, cancer, hypothyroidism, mental illnesses, and smoking cessation.
So, if you’re taking any medications that fall under these categories, it’s best to have a talk with your doctor about your sleep problems.

Depression and Other Mental Problems

Depression and sleep problems are highly interconnected. People with sleep problems are at higher risk of developing depression.
You should seek help as soon as you can if you think you struggle with depression. Other mental problems can affect your sleep, including bipolar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia.

How to Fall Asleep Fast

There are many tips that people swear by for falling asleep as soon as you hit the bed. However, the following three steps are the most important for a good night’s rest:

Create a Bedtime Routine

Having a bedtime routine to wind down and get in the mood for sleep is important. You can’t just expect to finish your work and go to sleep directly.
It’s recommended to start your bedtime routine 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed. That way, you give yourself enough time to relax and wind down for sleep.
When you’re getting ready for bed, avoid using your phone even for reading. Opt for reading physical books under red light rather than white light.
Try journaling as well. Write what’s on your mind before you go to bed so these thoughts won’t interfere with your sleep.
Avoid eating heavy foods during this resting time and lay off the alcohol. Instead, drink a warm cup of milk and eat some cherries.
Take a hot bath and create a skincare routine for bedtime. Every night as you do these steps, your brain will link them with sleep.
The most important thing of them all is to be consistent with your bedtime schedule. Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. With practice, you’ll get used to it.

Cultivate Relaxation

It’s important to learn to relax before you go to sleep, especially if you’re someone who struggles with anxiety. Relaxation starts with your environment.
Create an environment that is appropriate for sleep. A quiet room with the lights off is the best for sleep.
You also need to make sure that your bed is comfortable. Maybe it’s the problem from the beginning.
Choose a mattress with the right firmness and comfortable pillows. Try spraying lavender essential oil on your pillows.
Have relaxing music playing next to you on a timer. The soft tunes could soothe you.

Do Breathwork Exercises

Breathwork and meditation are popular relaxation techniques. Doing them before sleep will help you relax for bedtime.
The 4-7-8 breathing method is recommended for sleep problems. This is how to practice it:
  1. Start with exhaling through your mouth while parting your lips slightly
  2. Close your lips and inhale through your nose in four counts
  3. Hold your breath for seven counts
  4. Exhale through your mouth with a woosh sound in eight counts
  5. Repeat for four cycles or until you feel relaxed

Conclusion

Figuring out how to fall asleep fast isn’t always easy. After all, steady sleep cycles don’t come naturally to everyone.
However, if you think your problem might be because of mental health problems, it’s recommended to seek professional help as soon as you can.