Sleep is an elusive concept for so many of us. Feeling tired all day only to have your mind race when you try to go to bed or getting a second wind at exactly the wrong time? You’re in good company. So what can you do when you have difficulty falling (or staying) asleep? What causes you to have such trouble, anyway?
Reasons You Can’t Fall Asleep
Anxiety can keep us up when we should be asleep, preoccupying us with all the things we’re worrying about. Manifesting as either mental or physical symptoms (or both!), anxiety can be a real barrier to a good night’s sleep. See our post for ideas on how to help manage anxiety.
Poor Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to having a healthy routine before bed that promotes better slumber. A good sleep hygiene routine can include avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, limiting day naps to 30 minutes or less, avoiding screens (including your phone) for at least an hour before bed, and going to bed a regular time each day. If your sleep hygiene isn’t up to snuff, you could be making it harder for yourself to rest.
Blinking or bright lights, loud or irritating sounds, the buzzing of your watch on your wrist…these distractions can really interfere with both falling and staying asleep. Check out our post on how sound affects sleep for more info.
If bedtime is the only time you are stopping to reflect on your day, your brain may have trouble quieting down to let you sleep! Lots of people complain about thinking too much when they finally hit the pillow, spending hours navigating those thoughts instead of snoozing.
How to Help Yourself Get Better Sleep
No matter the reason you’re finding it hard to sleep, there are things you can try to make it easier.
Setting your room up for success is a great first step. If it’s too bright, try some blackout blinds. If it’s too noisy, see what you can do to eliminate or reduce the noise. Make sure your pillow provides enough support, and that your covers provide the right amount of warmth.
Practicing meditation helps calm the brain and get it ready for a night of good sleep. If you’re not used to meditating, or find yourself easily distracted, start with an audio guided program. Cues typically ask you to mentally scan your body and relax each part, or give a scenario to imagine yourself in. Many meditation programs are specifically designed to help with sleep.
Helping your brain into Delta waves (the frequency associated with deep sleep) is no easy feat if your brain is busy thinking about all the things you need to do. Binaural beats help your brain enter that relaxed state faster (read about exactly how binaural beats work here). They work great to override distracting noises, manage anxiety, or calm an active brain—many of the reasons you may not be getting the sleep you need. Of course, we recommend Zenfully for your binaural beat needs. It’s easy to use, and a relaxing experience designed with you in mind.
Use of Zenfully is not intended as a substitute for professional medical device, nor does Zenfully diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult a doctor before starting any new program.