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Why can't i sleep - 10 things that can keep you awake

It keeps getting later and later. A glance at the clock reveals that the time is dwindling until the next morning, while the desire to finally be able to sleep increases. Often our thoughts revolve around the reasons why sleep simply does not want to come. We have put together 10 things for you that can make you unable to sleep. If you know what is preventing you from sleeping, you can consciously create the best conditions for a good night's sleep.

1Lay in bed when you cannot sleep

When sleep does not want to come, we often toss from one side of the bed to the other. We spend a lot of time in bed this way without sleeping. Our brain no longer automatically associates the bed with “sleeping”, but also with “rolling around”, “lying awake” or perhaps even “brooding”. This can make you unable to sleep.

To help your brain associate bed more with "sleeping", get up if you cannot sleep for more than 15 minutes. Leave the cozy bed? This doesn't sound very tempting, but it will help you fall asleep faster in the long term. It's best to go to another room, read a book, listen to quiet music, or do some other calming activity. When you feel like you're really tired again, you can go back to bed.

2An unsuitable sleeping environment

We perceive our surroundings with our senses. If you lie in bed and want to fall asleep, but your senses are still very active because it is too loud, too bright or too warm, this can make falling asleep difficult. Therefore, pay attention to an optimal sleeping environment. Darken your room, avoid noise, and lower the temperature a little. This can already help you disappear into the land of dreams.

Sleep during the day when you cannot sleep at night

The temptation to take a long nap during the day to make up for a lack of sleep is great. The “siestas” also have a cultural tradition in many countries. If you cannot sleep in the evening or at night, such "afternoon naps" can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Why is that so? During the day we build up something called "sleep pressure". The longer we are awake, the higher our sleep pressure becomes. This leads to the fact that we can fall asleep faster in the evening and the restful deep sleep portion increases during the night. A nap at noon, on the other hand, relieves sleep pressure. This makes it harder to get to sleep at night. So we advise you to limit your sleep to the night if at all possible.

For many, the bedroom is now more than just a place to sleep. Televisions, game consoles or smartphones help ensure that we also feel completely comfortable in the place where we sleep. Unfortunately, they also contribute to the fact that we cannot sleep.

The blue light from screens acts on the body like daylight and keeps it awake. It inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and wakes us up again. We therefore recommend that you avoid screens in bed and bedroom as much as possible. Banning the smartphone from the bedroom is a sensible, but sometimes a difficult step. It can already help if you send your mobile phone to "do not disturb" or "night mode" in the evening, which filters out a certain proportion of the blue light.

5 Stimulants consumed too much or too late

A cup of coffee in the morning is a proven pick-me-up and can help you start the day actively. However, if you eat too much caffeinated foods too late or too late, this can postpone falling asleep. This then shortens the duration of your sleep and suppresses deep sleep. Therefore, try to avoid caffeinated stimulants early on before going to bed - preferably as early as noon. In addition to coffee and tea, this also includes lemonades or dark chocolate.

6Alcohol or cigarettes before bed

Can a glass of wine help in the evening if I cannot fall asleep? It's true that alcohol can make you fall asleep faster. On the whole, however, it does more harm than it helps. Alcohol only sedates you. This means that even when we are “no longer awake”, natural sleep does not begin. Alcohol makes you sleep less deeply, dream more, and wake up more often. This affects the quality of sleep and you will not experience sleep as restful.

Smoking cigarettes can also make it harder to sleep. Nicotine has a stimulating effect and therefore makes you more awake than tired. Try not to smoke or to smoke very little, especially in the evening, and to refrain from consuming alcohol.

7When body and mind are still active

Sometimes the day seems to have too few hours to accommodate everything. Work, learning or everyday duties then drag on until just before bed. For our body, the transition from “active” to “relaxed” is then too abrupt and we do not come to rest well. So create a relaxed transition period for yourself by consciously taking time to relax before going to bed. Read a book, listen to soothing music, or take a hot bath. In this way you prepare your body for a relaxed night and can sleep better.

8 “Why can't I fall asleep?” - When thoughts keep you awake

When we cannot sleep, our thoughts often start to circle. “Why is that happening today?” Or “I have to be fit tomorrow” shoot through our heads. This puts us under further pressure and we certainly cannot switch off. By giving yourself permission to simply rest instead of sleeping or having a nice "goodnight" thought, you can calm yourself down and get to sleep without pressure. Our tips for falling asleep may also help you with this

9 Irregular times to fall asleep and get up

If we have been awake longer in the evening because we could not fall asleep, there is a great need to lie down longer in the morning. However, this shifts your sleep-wake rhythm. Therefore, make a habit of getting up at the same time. In this way you support your "internal clock". Humans are creatures of habits. You can make use of that. In the long run, fixed times to fall asleep and get up will help you sleep better.

Eating too much late can make you unable to sleep

When the day draws to a close, tasks and efforts are behind us, we often look forward to a delicious meal. However, having a late and large meal can prevent you from falling asleep. Our digestive system has its hands full, especially when it comes to fatty and acidic foods such as meat. And that, in turn, can keep us from sleeping. Choose light meals for dinner and avoid eating about two hours before bed. This can help you fall asleep more easily.

How is it with you?

Did you find yourself in one reason or another? Have you noticed that you are already following some sleep hygiene rules? Everyone is different and that is exactly the reason why we do not sleep. Finding out about them is the first step. In the next few weeks, try out which “cogs” you can turn so that you can sleep more restfully in the future. Be patient as you do this and see what is helpful to you and what feels good to you.

If you notice that you want more support, our online sleep training could be right for you. In 8 training units you will learn, using scientifically proven methods, among other things, to change your sleeping habits, to relax better and to brood less.

Categories sleepTags falling asleep, sleep aid, sleep, sleep disorder