Why Cant I Sleep?

Why cant I sleep - sleepingMost people have trouble sleeping sometimes and find themselves lying awake asking ‘why cant I sleep?’ Usually sleeplessness lasts a night or two and then things go back to normal. Sometimes, though, it can become a bigger problem.


If any of the following apply to you then you may be suffering from some kind of disturbed sleeping pattern or insomnia:

  • finding it hard to get to sleep
  • laying awake for long periods at night
  • waking-up several times during the night
  • waking up too early and being unable to get back to sleep
  • waking up early but not feeling refreshed
  • feeling tired during the day but unable to successfully take a nap
  • feeling tired, irritable or having poor concentration

As always, if the symptoms of sleeplessness are causing you significant difficulty or you suspect a physical or mental illness could be contributing then you should seek immediate advice from a health professional.

Why Cant I Sleep?

Loss of sleep is a major problem which impacts on the work, relationships and health of sufferers. In Western societies it is very common to get too little sleep and the impacts are not hard to see. But what causes disturbed sleep patterns? There can be many reasons, but here are some of the most common:

Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco

Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks (colas, energy drinks) and nicotine from smoking or chewing tobacco are all stimulants and can cause sleeplessness if you take them too late in the day.


Lifestyle factors can disrupt sleep patterns and make it hard to sleep when you want to. Irregular shift patterns prevent the mind establishing a regular pattern of sleep in the same way as jet lag from crossing time zones can. Similarly an irregular daily pattern (e.g. changing bed times and getting up times) can prevent you getting to sleep when you want to.

Why cant I sleep - do not disturbEnvironment

The sleeping environment is important. If your bedroom is too bright, noisy, too hot (or too cold) these can all prevent you getting to sleep or cause you to wake-up too soon. It is also important that your bed and bedding are comfortable. A growing problem is the use of televisions, tablets and e-readers in the bedroom – these are all best avoided before sleeping as the type of they light they emit fools the brain into thinking it is daytime and so prevents sleep.

Medical Conditions

A wide range of medical conditions, both physical and mental, can cause insomnia – as can the drugs used to treat many other conditions. If you think your sleep problems could be caused by a medical condition then you should immediately seek medical advice.


Next we will look at ways to help you sleep.

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