10 Possible Reasons Why You Aren’t Sleeping


lonely anxiety GIF by Michelle Porucznik

We’ve all been there: it’s 4 AM, you’re exhausted, you have an alarm set for three hours later, but no matter what you try, no sleep will grace you. Insomnia plagues about 1 in 3 people. That means, unfortunately, you might have it and there’s no doubt that it sucks. What sucks even more is that there may be something you’re doing that is throwing off your circadian rhythms. Whatever the cause might be, there are a myriad of reasons as to what could be going on, and these reasons are easily solved.


  1. You don’t have a pattern

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Your body, like most biology, requires consistency. If you haven’t heard of the term “sleep debt,” it basically means that any sleep you sacrifice for those papers/exams will need to be reclaimed. If you spend one night awake working until 6 AM and then the next 2 nights up until 2 AM, you’re going to be struggling to find a normal time that will allow your body a possible recovery.


  1. You’re not letting yourself unwind

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Anxiety runs rampant on any college campus, but there needs to be a time when you can decompress and unconsciousness seems to be a way that is already worked into your existence. If you’re finding yourself worrying (or facing things like teeth grinding, heart palpitations, etc.), try to find a 5 minute window before bed to meditate and really disconnect from all the high stress in your life.


  1. You start to worry about this lack of sleep  

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Like previously stated, stress is the enemy of sleep. The more you’re worried, the more you think, and the less you’re able to shut down. Try to do something calming for 20 minutes if you find yourself hyper-focusing on the hour of the night if you need to get your mind off of your impending alarm (i.e. read a book!)


  1. You like to sleep with the heat cranked up

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One of the body's homeostatic components is the regulation of body temperature. If you’re sleeping in an area that is too hot, the regulation of internal temperature becomes more difficult and you’re unlikely to get some sound quality sleep. A remedy for this could be a warm shower or bath right before deciding to hit the hay.


  1. You can’t step away from Instagram

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Our bodies respond to light and so when you can’t stop scrolling as you lay in bed, your production of melatonin is disrupted and consequently, sleep won’t come as quickly. Try to pick something like listening to music or reading if you need to relax in bed and avoid the light!


  1. You’re giving in to the midday nap

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I’m sure you’re aware that if you take a 4 hour nap at 2 PM, you are going to have a hard time sleeping before sunrise. Try to limit naps to 20-30 minutes in order to have the most rejuvenating effect without disrupting your body.  


  1. It’s Tequila Tuesday

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Alcohol RUINS your sleep. I know, wild. While those glasses of wine or shots might make you pass out, alcohol indefinitely causes a disrupted sleep cycle, which will lead you to wake up during the night.   


  1. You’ve had 8 Starbucks coffee drinks throughout the day

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Caffeine has been shown delay the timing of your body clock. This really just means that no, you do not need that 10 PM Peet’s pick-me-up.


  1. You’ve made your bedroom your central living area

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When you’ve subconsciously associated your bedroom with eating, TV, socializing, etc. it can be hard to remember that it’s main purpose is sleep. Try to keep your bedroom your sleep zone so that when you do decide to go to bed, your body will know what it should be doing.


  1. Something else entirely!

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Insomnia is common for medical conditions like anxiety, depression, allergies, or certain medications. If you’ve tried a bunch of DIY solutions and you still find yourself exhausted and up all night, be sure to talk to your doctor.