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Why Can’t I Sleep Even Though I’m Tired? 4 Reasons You Can’t Sleep

a woman who cannot go to sleep

By Angela Halderson, RDN, IFNP, CMST, CLT, from Natural Healthy Concepts

Why can’t I sleep even though I’m tired? There are many factors involved. Sleep is essential for good health. While we sleep, our body repairs itself, detoxifies, stores memories, and even makes hormones. Children and teenagers need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep for proper growth and development, while adults need an average of seven hours of sleep each night. Wearing a fancy electronic device to track how much sleep you are getting is nice, but the devices can’t tell you why you are not getting enough sleep and could even be disrupting your sleep.

Getting good sleep depends on many factors. Here are four reasons why your sleep may not be as good as it could be.

Why Can’t I Sleep Even Though I’m Tired?

Blue Light Exposure

Tablets, computers, flat-screen televisions and cell phones all emit blue light. Blue light inhibits the formation of melatonin. With lower levels of melatonin, your circadian rhythm gets disrupted. As a result, you have trouble falling and staying asleep. And don’t forget about LED lights. While you may be saving money by using these tiny light bulbs, they too emit blue light. Some newer screens offer an option to turn off blue light. Another way to limit your exposure to blue light is by wearing blue light blocking sunglasses. These often have orange lenses. The darker the orange lens, the more blue light is blocked. If you watch television or use your computer, wear these types of sunglasses 2-3 hours before bedtime.

Eating Before Bed

Eating closer to bedtime can not only cause an upset stomach and heartburn, but it can also have you waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. Aim for having your last meal of the day four hours before bedtime. This allows time for the food to digest and clear the stomach before you lie down. Avoid spicy meals or foods you know cause you digestive problems like gluten, sugar or dairy.

Hormonal Changes

Still wondering, why can’t I sleep even though I’m tired? Hormones change all the time and can disrupt our sleep.  Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can be hot flashes, night sweats, restlessness, hair loss, or being tired and wired. Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of sex hormone imbalances. Perimenopause can start as early as in your 30s. During this time, women can experience menopause-like symptoms. For these types of hormone imbalances, you may consider adding red clover to your supplement regime. Experiencing exhaustion with the inability to sleep is usually an adrenal issue. The building blocks of good adrenal health include relaxation (try some meditation) and setting better personal boundaries to stop over-exerting yourself. Nourish your adrenal glands with vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B-5) and skip the caffeine. It puts more stress on those adrenals!

Racing Mind

An anxious, overactive mind can prevent you from falling asleep. Whether you are thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list, the person who cut you off in traffic, or what you need to make for dinner, your mind is racing from thought to thought without allowing you to focus on relaxation. If racing thoughts are keeping you awake, you may want to write down everything that is bothering you. Journaling can help an anxious mind relax. Making a list of things you need to do tomorrow before you go to bed can help alleviate some of those random thoughts.

If you still need help, you might want to reach for a calming herb called Skullcap. Oregon’s Wild Harvest Skullcap can quiet a restless mind, ease nervous tension and allow you to just count sheep. You can also try Natural Healthy Concepts’ Sleep Support with Melatonin or Diamond Formulations’ Sleep Balance Herbal to help you get a good night’s rest.