Statistics tell us that around 20% of the US population reports having difficulty falling asleep at night. That’s over 60 million people! The statistics are very similar in first world countries all over the globe. Yet for some reason, we as humans have a very hard time figuring out why this is such a big problem.
It shouldn’t be that hard. But it seems as though humans are the only members of the animal kingdom which struggle to get the rest that they need for optimal health and wellness. We decided to do a deep dive and figure out the root causes of all of this rampant insomnia. After all, the first step to solving a problem is figuring out why you have one. And once you know the source, you can come up with a strategic game plan to get rid of it.
Mental Blocks Could Have You Tossing and Turning
For the vast majority of people, our problems falling asleep at night, staying asleep through the night, and getting enough sleep are mental. It’s very hard for most people to admit this fact. Many people see it as a sign of weakness or a lack of control over their own emotions. On top of that, mental health issues are so poorly understood that popping a sleeping pill feels much easier than dealing with the actual problem. These pills may help people fall asleep at night, but the chemicals in these drugs are reducing the quality of your rest at the same time. And that’s just not good.
Whether it’s anxiety, stress, loneliness, or clinical depression, mental health issues play a huge factor in most cases of insomnia. And the worst insomnia gets, the worst your mental health can be because it has a negative impact on the functionality of your brain. Luckily, there are some simple fixes you can utilize tomorrow – or even right now – in order to help alleviate some of your mental tension. These include:
- Download a free app and start practicing mindfulness
- Schedule a “playdate” with your closest friends – especially if you haven’t seen them in a while
- Make sure to make time for your family – close family bonds are a big mood-booster
- Stay away from stimulating media (TV, books, movies, and more) that might make you anxious or worked up right before bed
Of course, nothing you read here should be a substitute for sound medical advice from a trained primary care physician. You should definitely talk to your doctor first, especially if you have trouble falling asleep more than once or twice a week. Just that tiny little dent in your regular sleep rhythm can have a seriously detrimental effect on your health over the long-term.
Aches and Pains Can Rob You of Your Sleep
It’s not always a mental block that keeps people awake at night. There are plenty of physical causes, too. Some of them are obvious, while others may be a little more subtle. But you should definitely listen to your body and change your sleep routine if you experience any of the following:
- Menstrual cramps – obviously, we’re talking to the ladies on this one. Yes, anxiety and mood swings can keep you awake during your monthly cycle. But so can the physically uncomfortable cramps and bloating which also happen. Heating pads and Tylenol are a good start to solving this problem; but if that doesn’t work, it’s time to call your doctor.
- Temperature – to get the best possible sleep, your bedroom should be cool, ideally around 68° Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for most people because it involves raising your energy costs. Altering your thermostat is usually more expensive, but a large fan may do the trick without using too much electricity – and give you the benefit of some soothing white noise to fall asleep to.
- Midday nap – if you constantly find yourself feeling tired in the afternoon after lunch, you may be the type of person who needs a midday nap. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s perfectly natural. Shoot for anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes, or else you may oversleep and make the problem worse.
- Too much caffeine – If you’re a coffee junkie who’s tried everything other than restricting your caffeine intake to improve your sleep, then you’re going to have to stop drinking coffee after 11:59 AM. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to struggle indefinitely. We know that may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but it’s a painful truth you may just need to face.
- Too little sex – or lackluster sex, for that matter, can give you problems getting to sleep. Research shows that the more frequently you make love to your partner, and the more satisfying it is, the less trouble you will have falling asleep. As if you needed an excuse.
- Too little exercise – if you don’t burn off a good amount of energy during the day with exercise, it can leave you feeling restless at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping. You should probably step up your exercise routine if you are already physically active. And if you’re not, you should definitely get out there and get moving. Even if it’s just a 20-minute brisk walk after dinner, it can make a difference in your nightly rest.
- An uncomfortable bed – how old is your mattress? When was the last time you bought new sheets? Aside from the main tenets of sleep hygiene, you should be sleeping somewhere comfy, too. Buying new bedroom furniture is expensive – but it can be a worthwhile investment if you have the cash.
Fix Those Problems With a Natural Sleep Aid
We find it’s best to try and take a natural approach to improving your sleep. Between meditation, eating a healthier diet, exercising properly, and more, you’ll get the best sleep if you do all of these things on a regular basis. You can also help yourself by taking a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM. Just one dose half an hour before bed can help relax you enough to give you the restorative rest you need. It couldn’t be simpler.