Tired But Can’t Sleep: Why and What to Do


Nothing is worse than lying in bed all night and being unable to sleep. Although you are completely exhausted, sleep seems to evade you. You have tried counting sheep, singing to yourself, listening to a podcast and clearing your mind of all thoughts. Despite all of your efforts, you are just as awake as ever. To find out why you can’t sleep and what to do about it, read on.

The Reasons Why You Are Tired But Can’t Sleep

There are several reasons why you may be tired, but unable to sleep. We will cover some of the most common reasons.

1. Anxiety and Stress

When you are worried about things at work or school, it seems impossible to sleep. Stressful, traumatic events like a break up, divorce or job loss can also leave you sleepless at night. If you are dreading something that will happen in the future, then you may also find yourself unable to sleep.

2. Overactive Thoughts

Most of the time, the reason why you cannot sleep is entirely in your head. If you have a racing mind that is filled with thoughts, then you might not be able to sleep. You may be daydreaming about future goals or events. Because you are so excited for these future plans, you stay awake far longer than you normally would. These thoughts are basically keeping you mentally alert, so you are going to find it impossible to sleep properly.

3. Change in Your Environment

You already know that traveling can give you jet lag, but it can also keep you awake at night. It interrupts your circadian rhythm so that you cannot sleep. Shift work at night can also ruin your natural body clock. When your circadian rhythm is messed up, it can mess up your body temperature, metabolism and sleeping patterns as well.

4. Medications

Over-the-counter medication like weight loss medication, pain relievers and decongestants sometimes contain caffeine that can keep you awake. Meanwhile, prescription medication like blood pressure, medicine, allergy medication, antidepressants, heart medication and stimulants can keep you up at night. While antihistamines could make you drowsy, they can cause frequent urination that could keep you up.

5. Depression

In the movies, people who are depressed sleep all the time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in real life. While you feel completely exhausted when you are depressed, you also might feel unable to sleep. This is most likely because of chemical imbalances within your brain. Depression can also cause doubts, fears and troubling thoughts in your mind that lead to insomnia.

6. Stimulants and Exercise

Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can certainly keep you up at night. Meanwhile, intense exercise before bedtime will also keep you up. You need to stop consuming stimulants and exercising at least a few hours before bedtime. If you are extremely sensitive to caffeine, you should avoid drinking any after your lunchtime.

7. Medical Conditions

Chronic medical conditions can cause insomnia. These include chronic pain, arthritis, GERD, frequent urination, diabetes, overactive thyroid, cardiovascular disease, menopause, cancer, breathing difficulties, sleep apnea and obesity.

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