Why Can’t I Sleep_ 20 Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Why Can’t I Sleep? 20 Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

April 20, 2021

Why Can’t I Sleep? Was my most ‘Googled’ phrase for years. Having insomnia for 5 years straight was torturous but thankfully I don’t suffer from this anymore. Here I’m sharing my Top 20 ways to get a good nights sleep. If you need further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help you get some sleep.

Sleep is the window to your overall health. If you are not sleeping well, there is something physical, mental, or emotional that you need to address. Ask yourself these questions:

Are you compelled to check your email one last time before you go to bed? 

Do you often stay up late to finish a project? 

If you answered, yes to either of those questions, you are cutting into your precious sleep time. In this article, you’ll find out how to dig deeper and discover the reasons you can’t sleep. I’ll also share with you 20 things you can do right now to start improving your sleep.

But first let’s talk about how lack of sleep can affect you and your business.

Sleep deprivation has immediate effects on your ability to focus, make good judgements, perform under pressure, and be creative. It not only affects your ability to do your best work, but harms your health, your ability to lose weight, and your overall mood. Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia.

While you sleep your brain is busy consolidating memories, repairing physical damage and generating dreams. Essentially, your body shifts into maintenance mode. Devoting itself to storing energy, fixing and replacing damaged cells, and growing. At the same time, your brain is cleaning out toxins, processing the day’s experiences and solving problems that have been occupying your waking mind. 

This work is concentrated at the end of your sleep cycle. If you’re not sleeping well, you are spending less time in this most important stage of the sleep cycle.

What To Do If You Can’t Sleep

The first thing to do is to look for the cause of your sleep problem. Then you can do the work you need to resolve it. Ask yourself these questions to figure out the trigger of the problem. 

  • When did the problem start? 
  • Did it start after an argument with a partner or family member? 
  • Or did it start after taking on too much at work?  
  • Are you suffering from stress or burnout?
  • Is the problem only during a certain time of your monthly cycle? 

The answers to these questions will provide insight into the problem you are having and help you to get your sleep back on track. Now you have an idea of what is causing the problem, let’s take a look at some things you can do to get a better night’s sleep.

Why Can’t I Sleep? 20 Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

1. Have A Sleep Routine 

The first thing you need to do is set a consistent wake-up time.

When sleep has a regular rhythm, your biological clock will be in sync and all of your other bodily functions will go smoother, including your sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults sleep for 7-9 hours a night. This not only provides the full benefits of sleep, but also counteracts the many effects of being sleep-deprived.

Calculate your sleep routine: Take the time you need or want to be up at and then count backwards 7-8 hours.  So If I want to be up at 7am everyday you would want to be asleep for 11pm. So you should look at going to bed around 10pm to allow time for teeth brushing, meditation, a little reading or an audio book before falling asleep.  

The key thing is to find a sleep routine that works for you, and stick to it!

2. Cut Caffeine After Lunch

Caffeine is a stimulant, and having too much of it in your system will prevent you from either falling asleep or having good quality sleep. Caffeine can remain in your system and be somewhat effective for 6 to 8 hours. So make sure to cut it out 6 to 8 hours before lights out.  

3. Get 15 Minutes Of Sunlight Every Day

Exposure to direct sunlight helps to regulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Another benefit of sunlight is the production of Vitamin D, low levels of Vitamin D can negatively impact the quality of your sleep

Even getting out into the sun for as little as 15 minutes a day can help to improve your sleep quality. Supplement with vitamin D if needed (take it every morning).

4. Get Enough Minerals 

Magnesium and calcium are especially important for good quality sleep. These two work together to relax your muscles. Magnesium also relaxes and calms the nervous system which is stimulated during the fight or flight response. Natural sources of these minerals are Tofu, Diary, Leafy Greens, Seafood. 

You could take magnesium supplements at night to help you wind down. Just be sure to consult your doctor before adding any supplementation to your diet.

5. Don’t Drink Alcohol – Or At Least Stop Drinking 3 Hours Before Bed

Alcohol destroys deep sleep and enhances anxiety. While alcohol can make you sleepy, it also does the following to detract from sound sleep:

  1. Keeps you from reaching the deep stages of sleep
  2. Dehydrates you
  3. Awakens you in the middle of the night (usually to go to the bathroom)
  4. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety.
  5. When first consumed, alcohol has a stimulating effect. Later, after alcohol has been in the system for a period time, its effects are sedating.

6. Exercise Every Day – But Limit Cardio To 4 Hours Before Bed

The more you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality. 

Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol (the stress hormone). This isn’t a problem if you’re exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can interfere with sleep.

7. Finish Work At Least 2 Hours Before Bed

Set your time limits for working and answering emails, giving yourself a chance to relax at least two hours before you climb into bed. The time it takes to wind down is different for everybody, though. I personally need to finish work 3-4 hours before bed to ensure I’m fully wound down after a day of stimulating work. 

8. Wind Down With Gentle Exercise

Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yin yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep and relax the nervous system. Stretching helps to get rid of any tension in the muscles that has built up throughout the day.  

9. Create A Bedtime Ritual

A bedtime ritual is a routine that you perform before going to bed. Ideally, it should be one or more relaxing activities that help you prepare for sleep. In addition to allowing you to wind down at the end of a long day, having a ritual also trains your brain that it’s time to get some rest. My bedtime ritual includes having an epsom salts bath and doing a gentle Yin Yoga stretch session. 

10. Get Back Up If You Can’t Sleep

Get up if you can’t sleep after around 20 mins of turning out the light.  

Read a light book, stretch, or have a little snack. Then go back up to bed when you are tired again. 

11. Detach From Work & Phone 

To experience the kind of rest that recharges your body and mind, and fuels your creativity and productivity, you need to detach from work. However, today we carry our work wherever we go. Our work (phone) comes with us to dinner, on dates, into the bath and even into bed. We are never getting the true detachment that we need for productive rest. Checking emails before sleep is stimulating and could be potentially anxiety provoking. 

12. STOP Technique 

When you have a negative thought: Take a deep breath, shout STOP in your mind and think very hard about something else. This is especially useful if the negative thoughts are repetitive worrying about a situation. Repeat as often as necessary. 

13. Keep Lists 

It helps to write a very specific to-do list before bedtime to help you sleep.

It’s your brain’s job to keep reminding you of things unfinished and things you have to do. Your brain can be pretty persistent, constantly nagging you until you have done it. By writing it down you are signalling to your brain that the task is done.

14. Check In With Your Hormones

Progesterone is largely a sleep-promoting, “feel good” hormone for women. Higher levels of progesterone tend to promote a sense of calm, boosting relaxation and facilitating sleep. 

Chemically speaking, when cortisol (our stress hormone) spikes, it blocks progesterone receptors and limits the activity of progesterone.

Low progesterone can bring about anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping. This could include a tendency to wake frequently during the night. I love to supplement with Agnes Cactus tincture; a natural supplement that mimics Progesterone. I take it from ovulation to the first day of menstruation. It also helps to reduce PMS symptoms. 

15. Journal Your Worries And Your Gratitude

“Journalling is like whispering to oneself and listening at the same time”

Setting your worries and anxieties down on paper gets them out of your mind and helps you to find solutions. Studies have shown that the release that comes from journaling helps to lower anxiety and stress, and even helps you achieve a better night’s sleep.

This is especially the case if you use your journaling time to reflect on good things in your life that you’re grateful for. Focusing on the good things you already have, rather than things you are missing, is key to promoting happiness. 

16. Keep Your Room Cool 

Keeping your room dark and cool can also have major effects on your ability to fall asleep.  Ask yourself if you are too hot or too cold to sleep. Then do whatever you can to address that; open a window, put on a fan or the air conditioning and see if that helps. 

I’m a very hot sleeper, I sleep with only a sheet when the room gets to 17c or higher. I also ensure I always ask for a sheet when I check in to a hotel so I have it to hand if I get too hot at night. 

17. No Clock Watching 

Clocks can be a common trigger for anxiety, especially when you’re trying to fall asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid looking at the clock. Knowing the time makes no difference if you are awake anyway. 

18. Noise

Sometimes little noises can startle us, especially when we are already stressed. Putting a fan on to create white noise or getting some earplugs can make all the difference so that your focus isn’t intently on the little sounds. You can even listen to white noise on Youtube or podcasts, there are many options these days including nature sounds. This is really good if you are traveling and can not access home comforts. 

19. Blue Light Blocker

Blue light is omitted from our screens and some light bulbs. Studies show that blue light aggressively inhibits the production of melatonin; our sleep hormone.  

Ensuring that you have warm white lighting installed in your bedroom will help your body regulate melatonin levels.

Blue light blocking glasses can be effective at filtering out blue light, however limiting your exposure to screens before bed is the best solution.  

20. Avoid Anything Anxiety Provoking Before Bed 

Don’t watch or read the news before bed. This could be potentially anxiety provoking. 

Don’t read work emails before bed or be tempted to check business App notifications. Save them for a time when you are ready for whatever messages may be waiting. Exciting or stressful, either way we don’t want to be thinking about that right before bed. 

Not all of these things will apply to you, this is a very broad overview of techniques that you can use to improve your sleep. You need to try out different things and find what works for you. The key thing to remember here is that you need to work at reducing stress and the effects of stress on your body for a relaxing sound sleep. 

21. (BONUS) Acknowledge That Excitement Can Also Create Sleeplessness 

Excitement produces the same chemical reactions as stress! 

Remember when you were small and were excited about Christmas and couldn’t sleep! 

Being aware of this helps you to knowingly implement your stress management relaxation techniques or make extra effort to wind down and calm your mind before bed.

Not all of these things will apply to you, this is a very broad overview of techniques that you can use to improve your sleep. You need to try out different things and find what works for you. The key thing to remember here is that you need to work at reducing stress and the effects of stress on your body for a relaxing sound sleep. 

As we like to say here at Be Well In Business: Rest as hard as your hustle! 

Have you have tried all these and are still asking ‘Why Can’t I Sleep?’

Helping entrepreneurs get a good night’s sleep is our specialty at Be Well In Business. If this is something that you are struggling with, contact one of our team and we’ll do our absolute best to help you.

Let’s put a plan of action in place and take some of the stress of your plate immediately. 

Why don’t you book in for a complimentary call.



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