5 Things Preventing You from Sleeping at Night and 3 Ways to Fall Asleep

If you feel like you’re doing everything you can to get a good night’s rest, trust us — you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “A third of U.S. adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.”

Just because it’s a common problem, however, doesn’t mean you should just accept the fact that you’re fighting through fatigue every day. In reality, fatigue is far from being the worst of your problems if you aren’t getting enough rest. The CDC has linked sleep deprivation to a number of health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, forms of cancer, higher mortality rates, and reduced quality of life and productivity.

If you’re ready to improve your quality of life and overall health, it’s time to make some changes. Here are five things that could be preventing you from sleeping at night, and three ways to fall asleep faster.

1. Drinking coffee too late in the day

woman siting at cafe

Is that afternoon cup really necessary? | iStock.com/Astarot

Let’s face it: Sometimes we need that late afternoon cup of coffee to make it through the final stretch of the workday. You might think you’re playing it safe, but according to Bernadette Farrell at Huffington Post, it takes four to seven hours for that caffeine to leave your body. Whether you got your fix at 4 p.m. or even had an after-dinner latte, you’ll be better off switching to decaf.

Farrell found that even if you think you’re unaffected by coffee late in the day, it may definitely be one of the things preventing you from sleeping properly. She explained, “Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that caffeine blocks adenosine, your body’s natural sleep-inducing agent … [caffeine also] breaks your sleep, so that you wake up more often during the night.”

Next: You might not be regulating this enough.

2. Sleeping at the wrong temperature

Man asleep on his side

The temperature of your bedroom makes a different. | YakobchukOlena/Getty Images

Everyone likes sleeping at a different temperature. Some people love to feel the brisk cold, while others sleep under a mountain of covers. Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself on, if you’re waking up in the middle of the night regularly — the temperature of your room might be the reason.

You might have a personal preference, but according to Sarah Klein at Huffington Post, all bodies sleep better at a specific temperature range. According to research on optimal sleeping temperatures, “The sweet spot is [generally] somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit … with temps below 54 or above 75 deemed disruptive to your slumber.”

Next: Fight through this discomfort for a better night’s sleep.

3. Sleeping without socks

in bed with socks

Always opt for bare feet. | JeepFoto/iStock/Getty Images

This might sound silly, but it’s true. Many people struggle to sleep with socks on, whether it gives you a sense of claustrophobia or they make your feet sweat through the night. Klein suggests, however, that in addition to regulating the temperature of your bedroom, you should try fighting through the initial discomfort of falling asleep while wearing socks.

She explained, “Even if you’ve set the thermostat correctly, some people are just disposed to having colder than comfortable extremities. But this can become a problem at bedtime, since warm hands and feet are part of a delicate thermoregulatory dance that seems to predict how quickly you’ll fall asleep, according to a 1999 study.”

Next: Once your mind starts, it just can’t stop.

4. Giving in to your stress

Young girl tired and lying on the bed

Sometimes your mind may runaway from you. | Tommaso79/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone deals with the stresses of life, and for some reason, we often find it creeping up on us in the wee hours of the night. While you’re lying there awake, it’s easy to give in to the stress and focus your mind on what’s bothering you.

According to Alan Henry at Lifehacker, “The more you follow your thoughts around in circles, the deeper that feedback loop of stress and anxiety goes.”

The next time you find yourself losing sleep over stress, try your best to get your mind off of it. You might want to try meditating or reading a book — but whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone.

Next: Here’s why you should avoid scrolling through Instagram while lying in bed.

5. Using your phone in bed

Man using his mobile phone in the bed

This is a nasty habit. | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

You might think scrolling through Instagram puts your mind at ease before falling asleep, but in reality, it’s doing you more harm than good. Heather Hatfield at WebMD explained how it sends your mind into a frenzy:

As your brain revs up, its electrical activity increases and neurons start to race — the exact opposite of what should be happening before sleep … The physical act of responding to a video game or even an email makes your body tense … as you get stressed, your body can go into a “fight or flight” response, and as a result, cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland, is released, creating a situation hardly conducive to sleep.

Next: Here’s what you may want to try …

Tip: Try using some relaxing body oil


The scent may send you off to sleep. | GeorgeRudy/iStock/Getty Images

Even if you’ve been working on correcting the things preventing you from sleeping, some products can definitely help you along the way. Reader’s Digest suggests Weleda Lavender Relaxing Body Oil, which they describe as an “all-natural and non-invasive” fragrant lavender oil that “soothes and calms.” For most effective sleeping assistance, apply the oil to your chest and rub toward your heart in circular motions while inhaling the aroma.

Next: You can make your whole room a relaxation zone.

Tip: Promote sleep with an air spray

woman napping

This home spray may do the trick. | Liderina/iStock/Getty Images

If you want to spread the calming effect to your entire room, try spraying it with Puressentiel Rest & Relax Air Spray. According to Reader’s Digest, it contains “a heady combo of 12 essential oils, including rosewood, cypress, and neroli,” which “creates a soothing essence to help promote sleep.”

If you’d rather centralize the scent, you might want to try simply spraying a few pumps onto a tissue and resting it on your bedside table near your head.

Next: Your sheets and pajamas could make a world of difference.

Tip: Calming fabric softener could be your answer

Couple sleeping

Soft sheets make all the difference. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing better than fresh sheets — but what about fresh sheets that help you sleep? Attitude Soothing Chamomile Fabric Softener could be your answer to a good night’s rest.

Reader’s Digest suggests washing your family’s sheets and pajamas in the fabric softener, which is even gentle enough for infant use. You and your family will be sleeping soundly through the night before you know it.

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