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Why Can't I Sleep? — What To Do When You Can't Sleep Through the Night

Jenn Morson

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Quality sleep is key to every aspect of health. If you're wondering, "why can't I sleep through the night?" here are some questions to consider as well as suggestions for what to do when you can't sleep.


 So many variables can affect sleep: are you too hot? Too cold? Do you have a partner? And do they snore? Are you stressed? Did you drink too much water and have to get up to use the bathroom?


When you can't sleep, your whole day can be off due to exhaustion. And perhaps you spend it worrying about what to do when you can't sleep — and then the cycle starts all over again.


About a third of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Seven hours is what the CDC considers restorative sleep, for the purpose of their research.


Let's find out what might be affecting your slumber.



If you have trouble falling asleep, take a moment to consider the following possible reasons and try to address them:


 Do You Have a Consistent Bedtime and Wake Time?

Your body and mind need to know it's time to go to sleep. Just as parents practice a nightly routine in order to calm young children to ready them for sleep, adults require the calibrating of their inner clocks.


Set aside what time you know you need to feel refreshed and avoid lying in bed longer, because it can send your body mixed messages.


If you don't fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, get up and leave your room to do something relaxing, like reading or listening to relaxing music. When you feel sleepy, return to your bed and try again.


By setting a regular time that you go to bed, you can train your body to go to sleep more readily.


If you have a Sleep Number® smart bed, you can see your ideal bedtime and wake time all from your Sleep Number® app. Your smart bed can even set an effortless routine to help remind you and keep you on schedule.

Do You Like Your Bedroom?

If you do not feel relaxed in your sleeping space, you may be reacting to it negatively.


 You might need to fix the temperature in your bedroom, the lighting or feng shui the entire oasis for better sleep.


Do You Constantly Feel Stressed?

Your issue may be less sleep-related and more daytime-related. In order to sleep better at night, you will need to address your stressors and attempt to reduce them.


Did you know that your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is an indicator of your stress level? The Sleep Number® smart bed tracks your HRV so you can see how well your body recovers from stress.


Do You Turn Off Your Tech Before Bedtime?

"Doomscrolling" can impact sleep in a few different ways, such as causing more stress from reading troubling news as well as straining your eyes from the blue light given off by our devices.


Having your phone or tablet in hand can also keep your brain running when it should be slowing down for sleep. Maybe it's time to leave your devices outside the bedroom.


Do You Have a Healthy Diet?

Your daytime habits can affect your nocturnal ones. Everything you put in your body can impact sleep. You can find many more tips on the Sleep Number blog, including What To Eat for an Energetic Day and Restful Sleep.


Do You Sleep Alone or Do You Share a Bed?

Perhaps the issue isn't you, but your partner. Check out these sleep tips for couples.


And if you don't share your bed with anyone, it's possible you need to get a new mattress for yourself. For insights into your sleep habits and data, check out the Sleep Number® smart bed.

Do You Have Trouble Staying Asleep?

If you can fall asleep quickly but find yourself stirring in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep easily, invite better quality sleep with these expert-approved tips:


Address Any Sources of Discomfort

When your body is not feeling well, it can interrupt sleep. Adjust your pillows if you wake up due to aches and pains, and try to find out if anything else affects your sleep. Consider a new mattress or mattress topper, try some gentle stretching morning and night, and talk to a healthcare provider.


If you have a Sleep Number® smart bed, try adjusting your Sleep Number® setting. Did you know that sleepers who regularly adjust their Sleep Number® setting get more restful sleep?


Mind Your Bladder

Consider if your bladder is waking you up at night. Do you need to use the bathroom and can't fall back asleep easily? You may want to restrict your liquid intake a few hours before bed. Limit those late night beverages, and cut off any caffeinated beverages past noon.


Speak to a Health Professional About Sleep Disorders

When you can't sleep through the night, a sleep disorder — like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or even medication interactions and side effects — may be the root of your sleep troubles.


If you suspect you suffer from any of these conditions, speak with your physician about how to manage them properly in order to improve your sleep.


If you go to sleep yet wake up at various points in the night, you should consider consulting with a physician to eliminate possible medical concerns.


From sleep apnea to evening coffee, new habits could make the difference.


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal wellbeing and performance. Because everyone's sleep needs are different, Sleep Number® smart beds sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep.





Jenn Morson is a freelance writer whose work appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader's Digest, and many more national and regional publications. She writes about health, parenting, education, and wellness.

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