The Sleep Advisors

Featured image of why am I too tired to sleep.
Last Updated on July 29, 2022 by Peter

Why Am I Too Tired To Sleep?

Have you ever been just too tired to sleep? We know we have.

It’s not uncommon for people to feel too tired to sleep. We’re under a lot of physical and emotional stress during the day, we live fast-paced lifestyles, we try to do more than we can or should, and that takes a toll on us.
What’s not helpful in these situations are the thoughts that ravage our minds. Time and time again, we lay down and try to fall asleep, and when we can’t, we start wondering what’s going on.

That can put additional stress on our minds and bodies, resulting in poor sleep – if we even manage to get some shut-eye in the first place.
So, we thought to ourselves, why not make it easier for everyone? Why not write a simple piece to put everyone’s mind at ease? Thereby, we did…

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Sleepy, tired or fatigued?

    First things first – we need to learn the difference between being sleepy, tired and fatigued. If you can make the distinction between the three, you can take appropriate measures to solve the issue.
    How do you tell the apart?

    Well, when you feel sleepy, you feel as if you could fall asleep at any given moment. You’re not really tired or exhausted, but your body is telling you that it’s time to power down and if you wanted to nap – you could.

    an image of a sleepy woman

    When you feel tired, it means that you have expended a lot of energy and need to refuel. You might be physically or mentally tired, or both. All you need to do to stop feeling tired is get a full night of restful sleep.

    Fatigue, on the other hand, is different from being sleepy or tired in that it’s a constant feeling of tiredness that doesn’t go away, no matter how much you rest or sleep. It can be caused by various things, such as sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, medical conditions or lifestyle choices.
    So, which one is it?

    Does circadian rhythm have anything to do with it?

    No matter how much we try to fight it, we’re programmed to sleep at a certain time and our bodies know it. This is what’s known as our circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle. To better understand whether circadian rhythm has anything to do with our sleep quality or why we’re feeling too tired to sleep, we have to fully comprehend what circadian rhythm is.

    It’s a natural, internal process that regulates how we feel during the day and influences when we sleep at night. It responds to light and darkness in our environment and tells our bodies when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep.

    An image of a man drinking a glass of water in his bed before the bed time.

    The sun itself has a big impact on our circadian rhythm. When we’re exposed to sunlight, it signals to our bodies that it’s daytime and we should be awake. On the other hand, when it starts to get dark, our bodies produce a sleep hormone called melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy.
    But, our circadian rhythm is also influenced by our lifestyle choices. For example, if we work night shifts or have jet lag, it can throw our whole sleep/wake cycle off balance and result in a bad night’s sleep, but more on that later.

    So, to sum up – yes. Circadian rhythm has a lot to do with it.

    The reasons for being too tired to sleep

    Apart from just being sleepy, tired, or fatigued, there are other reasons why we might not be able to doze off even when we want to.

    Not enough sleep

    Good night’s sleep is essential for our well-being, and if we don’t get enough of it – everything goes sideways. Experts recommend that adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep a day, but the truth is – most of us don’t.

    We live in a world where we’re constantly connected and available 24/7, we have jobs that require us to be on call even outside of working hours, and we have families and social lives that take up our free time and disrupt our sleep habits.

    All of these things make it hard to get a full night of restful sleep, and as a result – we’re always tired and we can’t catch a break even when we want to.

    An image of a sleepy woman holding a pillow.

    Deficiency in nutrition

    Poor eating habits result in sleep problems, it’s that simple. What we eat and drink directly affects our sleep quality. For example, consuming too much sugar or caffeine during the day can make it hard to fall asleep at night because it’s a stimulant that keeps us awake. The same goes for sugary foods – they may give us an initial energy boost, but eventually, we crash and feel even more tired than before.

    Thankfully, a simple switch to a more balanced diet and cutting out caffeine and sugar can do wonders for our sleep quality and help us get the rest we need.

    Stress

    There are various sleep disorders that can make it difficult to nod off or stay asleep throughout the night, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. However, if you’re constantly tossing and turning at night and you have a hard time getting some shut-eye – it’s more likely that the stress is the one to blame.

    Stress and anxiety disorders can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, a tight jaw, sweating, or a racing heart – all of which can make it hard to relax and doze off.
    What’s more, when we’re stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol, which is known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol keeps us alert and active, which is great in short bursts, but not so much when we’re trying to sleep.

    To make matters worse, stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes – all of which can further disrupt our sleep patterns and make it even harder to get some rest.

    Specific medical conditions

    It’s not just the sleep disorders that make us lose valuable sleep – it’s other medical conditions, as well.
    Conditions like diabetes, anaemia, or thyroid problems can all lead to fatigue and make it hard to stay awake during the day but make it hard to go to sleep at night.

    What’s more, some medications used to treat other conditions can also cause drowsiness and make it difficult to sleep when you have to. If you’re taking any medication and you’re struggling to sleep – be sure to talk to your doctor about it.

    An image of a woman feeling nauseous .

    Too much caffeine

    Most of us love a good cup of coffee. Or tea. But, if you want to doze off as soon as you touch the pillow – it might be better if you take a break from caffeine. Or limit its intake, at the very least. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it gives us energy and makes us more alert. This is great when we need to be productive during the day or when we’re trying to catch a coffee nap buzz, but not so much when we’re actually trying to sleep.

    If you’re struggling to hit the snooze at night, try to avoid caffeine altogether – or have your last cup at least 6 hours before you go to bed. This should give the caffeine enough time to wear off and won’t disrupt your sleep.

    Dehydration

    Dehydration can lead to all sorts of issues, including sleepiness and fatigue.

    When we’re dehydrated, our bodies can’t function properly, and we may experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or constipation. All of these can make it hard to nod off, catch some sleep or make us wake up frequently during the night.

    What’s more, dehydration can also cause dry mouth, which can lead to increased snoring – and we all know how disruptive that can be.

    To avoid dehydration (and all of the sleep-disrupting symptoms that come with it), be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the day and cut down on diuretics such as caffeine or alcohol. Before bed, at least.

    Obesity

    It’s a known fact that obese people sleep poorly. In fact, obesity is one of the most common reasons folks can’t sleep. And, there are various reasons for that.

    Firstly, carrying all that extra weight can lead to joint pain, which can make it difficult to drift off and stay asleep comfortably. Secondly, obesity can also cause sleep apnea – a condition where your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. And lastly, obesity can also lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol – which, as we mentioned before, can make it very hard to sleep.

    To improve your sleep, try to lose weight gradually through a healthy diet and exercise – and be sure to talk to your doctor about any underlying medical conditions that may be causing or contributing to your weight gain.

    Drugs & alcohol

    As you’ve learned by now, any kind of stimuli will make it very hard for you to catch some ZZZs. So, it’s no surprise that drugs and alcohol are some of the worst offenders when it comes to sleep disruption.
    Both drugs and alcohol can cause drowsiness, but they also have a rebound effect – meaning that, after the initial drowsiness wears off – it’s not a fun ride. Don’t count on getting any deep sleep while intoxicated.

    What’s more, alcohol can lead to increased urination (which can disrupt your sleep) but it will also cause dehydration (which, as we mentioned before, is another notorious sleep disruptor).

    So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s best to avoid drugs and alcohol altogether.

    An image of a woman drinking alcohol in bed.

    Shift work

    You could eat healthily, drink a lot of water, exercise daily, and take your vitamins, but if you’re a shift worker – a better night’s sleep is probably not in the cards for you. Excessive daytime sleepiness, however, is.

    As we’ve said, our bodies are designed to sleep at night – and, when we don’t follow that natural rhythm, it can be very difficult to feel good.

    If you work shifts, the best thing you can do is to try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. And, if you can’t avoid working at night – be sure to get some bright light exposure during the day to help keep your circadian rhythm in check.

    How to avoid being too tired to sleep?

    We’ve already hinted at what you can do to avoid having this issue, but let’s just double down on this strategy.

    Daily exercising

    First things first – get your workout in. It doesn’t matter if it’s running, gym, football or yoga – just get active. And, the more you do it, the better. Just not right before you go to bed.

    Working out regularly will help improve the quality of your sleep and make it easier to drift away and stay asleep at night. But that’s not all – exercise will also help reduce stress levels, leaving you both healthier and happier.

    So, if you’re struggling to sleep – make sure you get your sweat on.

    An image of a couple stretching and exercising in the morning.

    Stress management

    As we mentioned before, stress is one of the most common causes of sleep disruption – so it’s important to learn how to manage it effectively.

    There are various ways to do that, but some of the most effective ones include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
    You can also try journaling before bed – writing down your thoughts and worries will help you clear your mind and relax, making it easier to doze off. Just don’t do it on your phone. You know, blue light and all that.

    Finally, make sure you’re not doing anything that can trigger or worsen stress levels – such as working long hours, skipping meals, or getting into unnecessary arguments.

    Balanced diet

    Meat and veggies – it’s not that hard. You don’t have to be a professional dietician to know that a balanced diet is important for both your physical and mental health. And when it comes to sleep – what you eat (or don’t eat) can make a big difference.

    For instance, eating large meals before bed can lead to indigestion and heartburn – both of which can disrupt your sleep. So, it’s best to eat your dinner a few hours before you go to bed.
    It’s also important to avoid foods that can make you feel jittery or wired – such as sugary snacks and spicy dishes.

    And, last but not least, make sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients – such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D.

    Good sleep hygiene and optimal sleeping environment

    Good sleep hygiene is essential for anyone who wants to get a good night’s sleep. But what exactly is it?
    In short, good sleep hygiene includes all the things you need to do (or not do) in order to create an optimal sleeping environment. This includes everything from setting a regular sleep schedule to making sure you hop in a relaxing shower before you touch the sheets.

    It’s also the little things like avoiding blue light and electronics before bed, skipping a night cap etc.
    But also, your bedroom should be a haven – a place where you can relax and drift off into dreamland.

    However, if your bed is uncomfortable or your room is too bright/noisy/cluttered – it can be very difficult to get a great night’s sleep.

    An image of a modern bedroom with a high ceiling.

    So, what can you do to fix that? First things first – make sure your bed is comfortable. If your mattress is old and lumpy or your sheets are scratchy – it’s time for an upgrade. You should also take a look at your bedroom and see if there are any changes you can make to make it more conducive to sleep. For instance, you might want to invest in some blackout curtains or get a white noise machine.
    And, last but not least, try to keep your bedroom as clutter-free as possible. A tidy room will help you relax and feel more at ease – making it easier to fall asleep.

    Peter

    Peter

    Sleep enthusiast & researcher Sleep is a crucial for a healthy life, in every sense. TSA gave me the place to express my feelings and opinions about the state we spend one third of our lives. In free time - a huge fan of dreams and lucid dreaming. Even started making own dream map
    Scroll to Top