Sleeping difficulties are a common problem encountered by many adults worldwide. Even if you get to sleep, you may find it difficult to stay asleep. You drift off to dreamland but find yourself wide awake at 2 a.m., or you may wake up every couple of hours through the whole night.

By getting adequate sleep at night you will feel refreshed to start your day. However, if you have interrupted sleep, it is very likely that you will feel sleepy and fatigued the next day. So what causes this? There are various reasons why you can’t stay asleep. Let’s find out more about it.

Why Can’t You Stay Asleep?

Hormone Changes

Hormones perform several functions including sleep. Sleep disturbances can result from hormonal imbalances. Hormonal changes occur in a female during menstrual cycle, perimenopause, pregnancy and menopause and they may affect their sleep quality. For instance, hot flashes can occur due to decreased estrogen, which may wake you up at 2 a.m. Hormonal fluctuations and imbalances can’t be controlled but you can make your sleep environment friendly, relax before sleeping and follow a same schedule of sleep. If these measures don’t help, discuss with your physician. There are other options including hormone replacement therapy.

Excessive Caffeine

You probably have known that caffeine is a type of stimulant and it can affect your sleep. But it may also result in poor quality of sleep including waking you up during the night. Caffeine has a 3-5 hours half-life which implies that your body takes many hours to remove the caffeine you ingested. Hence, the effects of caffeine may be felt even several hours after its intake. Caffeine is also present in cola, energy drinks, and certain teas and chocolate. It is recommended to avoid caffeine around 6 hours before sleeping.


Stress always goes hand in hand with sleep difficulties. If you are under stress due to some reason, you will find it difficult to sleep well and may suffer from insomnia. Lack of sleep leads to more stress making it a vicious cycle. Adults who sleep for less than 8 hours each night have greater symptoms of stress in comparison to those adults who sleep for longer duration. Hence, it is important to unplug and unwind before bed.

Environment Where You Sleep

The environment where you sleep can also be one of the causes why you can’t stay asleep. For instance, loud noises could wake you up from a sound sleep or light coming through a window may wake you up. Luckily, there are certain ways that you can use to make your sleep environment friendly. Buy a mattress of good quality and comfortable bedding. Keep the temperature of your bedroom cool, which helps sleep. Ensure that the curtains in your bedroom are heavy and block sunlight. Earplugs can be used to block outside sounds.

Pain in the Back

Pain in your back can result in poor sleep as you struggle for a comfortable position. If you are suffering from chronic pain in back, it is imperative to treat the underlying cause. Moreover, the position in which you sleep can impact your level of comfort. The position that is right for you depends on whether the pain is in your lower or upper back area. When you have back pain, it is recommended to sleep on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest slightly.


Alcohol may help fall asleep but it interferes with the sleep quality. As the alcohol metabolizes and the effect wears off, it disrupts deep sleep, which leads to restless sleep all through the night. It is recommended to avoid alcohol a few hours before you go to bed.

Eating a Late Dinner

If you eat a heavy meal before going to bed, your sleep may be disrupted. It can cause acid reflux and indigestion. If you want to eat before bed, eat a light snack and avoid greasy and spicy foods.

You Have Addiction to Technology

Though, new devices and gadgets promise to make your life easier but depending on them too much can actually lead to poor sleep. It is a boon to parents who are working to keep in touch with their kids. However, you need to learn to keep technology and your life separate. It is recommended that you should not check your e-mails right before going to bed.

You Have Disturbed Your Biological Clock

Staying up late on the nights of Friday and Saturday and then sleeping late on the mornings of Saturday and Sunday is usually a nice gift you give yourselves after a hard week at work. But it can disturb your biological clock and even if you try to sleep early on the night of Sunday, you will sleep poorly and feel fatigued and sleepy on Monday morning.

You Are Smoker

There are hundreds of reasons why you should quit smoking, can’t stay asleep at night is one of them. Nicotine acts as a stimulant that will keep you awake for longer duration and since you may experience withdrawal symptoms of nicotine at night, your sleep will be disrupted.

What to Do If You Can’t Stay Asleep?

Try some of the below mentioned strategies to combat insomnia:

  • Form a relaxing, quite bedtime routine. For instance, take a warm shower, drink some no caffeinated tea or listen to soft music.

  • Try relaxation techniques. Muscle relaxation or gentle yoga can calm you and help relaxation of tight muscles.

  • Make your bedroom comfortable. Keep noise, light and temperature at comfortable levels. Don’t get into activities apart from sex or sleeping in your bedroom. This will give your body a signal that this room is for sleeping.

  • Place clocks out of sight in your bedroom. Watching clock produces stress and makes it difficult to fall asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

  • Don’t drink caffeine after noon and limit your alcohol intake to one drink at least several hours before going to bed.

  • Engage in regular physical activity. However, exercising close to bedtime may disturb your sleep.

  • Get into the bed only when you feel sleepy. If you are not feeling sleepy, do some relaxing activity to unwind yourself.

  • Don’t indulge in daytime napping.

  • If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed. Do some other quite activities, such as going to other rooms and reading until you feel sleepy again.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.