Health & Wellness

Why the Hell Can't I Fall Asleep?

Some Natural Ways to Cure Your Sleepless Nights.

By Liz Bailey
Kinga Cichewicz

As someone who suffered from insomnia for years, I found it imperative to seek out ways to help me fall asleep. According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, about 25 percent of Americans experience acute insomnia each year. A new study in science daily also states that, “Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for as little as three nights per week for at least two consecutive weeks up to three months.”

For some of us, getting a good night’s sleep may be increasingly elusive and distant, so you may be asking yourself “Why the Hell Can’t I fall Asleep?”

What causes insomnia?

There are a wide variety of reasons that may cause a person to experience insomnia, including:

  • Stress is a major cause of insomnia; it can be one of the biggest causes. You may be wrought with fears or stresses related to school, work, or interpersonal relationships that are keeping you up at night.
  • Bad sleeping habits are another cause of sleepless nights. Doing things that don’t promote a restful night’s sleep can be what causes chronic insomnia.
  • Certain substances can also keep you awake at night. Some of these substances include alcohol, nicotine and caffeine.
  • Medications can cause you to lose sleep if they are not kept in check. Speak with your doctor to be sure your medications are not causing your insomnia.
  • A difficult schedule is another cause of chronic insomnia. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, it may be due to shift work or constant travel. Anything that can disrupt your circadian rhythms or your body’s natural internal clock can negatively impact your sleep habits.

What are the components of sleep?

Our sleep is characterized by both Non-Rapid Eye Movement (Non-REM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). But what are the differences between the two?

Non-Rapid Eye Movement is structured by three stages, the deepest stage of which results in a deep, quiet sleep. It is during Non-REM sleep that the body repairs itself, grows muscles, and strengthens the immune system.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is what we know as our dream state. It usually occurs up to 90 minutes after we fall asleep, and our brains are very active during this time.

It’s easy to see why our sleep is so important for regular growth and development, and without either Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep and Rapid Eye Movement sleep our systems can go a little haywire.

What are some natural ways to improve insomnia and sleeplessness?

Many of us want a solution to insomnia that doesn’t involve heavy drugs, which may ultimately cause your body harm in the long run. Some drugs, like Ambien and Lunesta, can have lingering effects and can actually become quite dangerous. Many people partake in reckless driving while under the influence of these medications and don’t realize what they are doing. Even the minor side effects can cause you to feel groggy and drained the following day. Alternatively, there are more natural ways to aid in a reduction of sleeplessness.

1. Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is much like bathing or brushing your teeth; it is a routine that is performed to help you fall asleep. Some key principles include:

  • Going to sleep at the same time each night.
  • Leaving the bedroom for only sex and sleep.
  • Cutting out electronics for up to one hour before going to sleep.
  • Creating a calming environment with essential oils, a cold room temperature, and a sound machine.

2. Natural Sleep Supplements

Natural sleep supplements are substances that naturally occur within nature and don’t cause any lingering negative side effects on the body after consumption. Some of these include:

  • Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in your body that is used to regulate your wake-sleep cycle.
  • Cherry juice has naturally high levels of melatonin. This is a great option if you are not fond of taking supplements in capsule form.
  • Magnesium is a naturally occurring nutrient that can reduce restless leg syndrome, which is common cause of insomnia.
  • CBD oil is used for people who struggle with anxiety and it is non-addictive (an added bonus). Many people do not know that it is actually non-psychoactive, meaning it will not cause hallucinations or give you the sense of feeling “high.”
  • Valerian Root is an herbal remedy that can have somewhat of a sedative effect, especially for people who have a difficult time falling asleep.

3. Sleep Accessories

Some people swear by the use of sleep accessories to help curate a relaxing environment that helps them destress and fall asleep with ease. Some of these products may include:

  • Sound machines that offer soothing noises like ocean waves, rain, or white noise that can create a calming space that makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Black-out curtains are also a good option if you are sensitive to light and wish to keep out any external light that may creep in through windows or door panels.
  • Earplugs are an essential nighttime accessory for anyone who likes to sleep with complete silence, or for someone who may need to block out the sounds of a busy street or snoring partner.

Many people experience sleepless nights and have a reduced quality of life because of it. You don’t have to be someone who suffers from insomnia or constant sleeplessness. If you are open to experimenting with alternative ways to aid in falling asleep, try practicing sleep hygiene and implementing one or two natural sleeping supplements into your nightly routine to find what works best for you. Your mind and body will thank you for it later.

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