Can't get to sleep? How to Sleep Better and Fall Asleep Faster

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  • 09 Dec 2023
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Sleep disorders are extremely frequent. Between 30% and 50% of the general adult population suffers from insomnia symptoms, which are characterized by insufficient sleep quality and quantity. If you're reading this, you're probably having trouble sleeping and wondering, "Why can't I sleep?"

A recent study discovered that sleep length is linked to the shape of our brains. The study found that sleep length is associated with the integrity of our brain's white matter and, as a result, our cognitive function.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

There are numerous reasons why your sleep may be subpar. Look over the list below for any factors that sound familiar:

Mental Causes of Poor Sleep

Sleep is intimately related to your mental condition. Continue reading to learn more about how stress and other factors may be influencing your sleep.


A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep connected stress exposure to problems falling and staying asleep. The study also discovered that chronic worry can increase the odds of developing numerous common sleep problems.

If you feel that your stress levels are too high and affecting your sleep, reducing your stress levels can help you achieve more restful sleep.


Numerous research have linked anxiety to poor sleep quality and inadequate sleep hygiene. Both having something to worry about and rising general anxiety levels have been linked to poor sleep. Anxiety can contribute to elevated stress levels, exacerbating the effects of stress on sleep.


Stress and worry can both disturb your body's normal rhythm, resulting in a vicious cycle. Stress and/or anxiety throughout the day leads to poor sleep at night, which becomes a stressor the next day, and the cycle repeats. The persistence of this pattern is what can lead to sleep disorders.

Physical Reasons for Poor Sleep

Do you have physical discomfort during the night or when you wake up? Don't dismiss them; they could be the reason you're not getting enough sleep!


Lower back pain is one of the chronic pain conditions associated with insufficient sleep. Physical discomfort can also set off a vicious cycle in which pain produces poor sleep, which makes your body more susceptible to pain, and so on.

The source of your lower back pain could be there in front of you: your bed!

One of the reasons for back pain is tension in the back induced by particular motions or by keeping poor posture while resting and using an unsuitable mattress.

Even your pillow can play a role. According to a recent study, participants who used a less supporting pillow had head, neck, and shoulder pain, which impacted their sleep quality.

Other aspects that might contribute to a poor sleep environment include room temperature, lighting, and noise levels, which I will discuss later when I discuss how to build a good sleep environment.


You may be aware of the impact of physical pain on sleep, but did you realize that digestive disorders can also have an impact on your sleep?

Some digestive conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic disease, inflammatory GI disorders, and liver disease, can cause sleep deprivation and poor quality. This is because how your body breaks down nutrients is tied to how your body regulates sleep.

You may not have a digestive condition, but a poor diet, irregular eating, and heavier meals late in the day have all been related to insufficient sleep.

Sleep Disorders

If you are concerned that you are unable to sleep due to a sleeping issue, you should seek further medical assistance. For the time being, read the following brief explanations of common sleep disorders to get a sense of what symptoms to look out for:


Insomnia is defined as persistent problems initiating and/or maintaining sleep or non-restorative sleep. Insomniacs also have functional impairment and distress during the day.


Sleep apnea is defined by episodes of partial or full upper airway blockage during the night. This blockage is typically associated with a reduction or total halt (apnea) of upper airway airflow.


REM sleep behavior disorder (or RBD) is a sleep condition that impairs the normal function of your sleep cycle's REM phase. Check out this post for a refresher on REM phases and the remainder of the sleep cycles.

RBD interferes with sleep by disrupting the muscle inactivity (muscle atonia) that happens during REM. This results in dream enactment (kicking, punching) and vocalization.

RBD dream content may include being pursued, attacked, or defending a spouse from an attack. Following acts include beating, kicking, or even attempted strangulation, as well as vocalizations such as yelling, shouting, or even laughing.

Because of the possibility for reenactment of behavior and the lack of bodily control associated with REM sleep, some people with RBD may wake up on the floor, having fallen out of bed.


What exactly is shift work disorder? Shift work disorder (SWD) is described as the occurrence of sleeplessness and/or excessive drowsiness that occurs about the afflicted's work schedule. SWD is also linked to a reduction in sleep duration.

SWD, unsurprisingly, affects shift workers or those who operate outside of regular working hours. The overall prevalence of SWD is estimated to be 26.5%, which is two to five times higher than the prevalence of anxiety, sleeplessness, or depression in the general population.

How to Sleep Faster And Sleep Better

Now that you understand why you might be unable to sleep and what your sleep quality and quantity goals should be, let's look at how you can get the best sleep possible.

Disclaimer: If you believe you are suffering from any of the sleep disorders listed in this article, seek professional assistance from therapists or doctors.

Otherwise, try the following suggestions to learn how to sleep fast and well:

1. Meditate to Ease Your Worries

Meditation allows both your body and mind to relax. The goal is to quiet your rushing mind and pay nonjudgmental attention to the present moment.

Mindfulness meditation reframes your mind so that you can look at the current moment with patience and kindness, reducing negative reactivity to stresses in your surroundings. It's no surprise that it's been shown to help with sleep!

2. Write Down Your Thoughts to Set Your Mind Free

Journaling or brain-dumping can help you "empty" your mind and prepare for restful, deep sleep.

Writing a to-do list is one method you can try; one recent study revealed that finishing a to-do list at night helped participants fall asleep faster. These findings may surprise you, but they are founded on the premise that writing down your ideas is preferable to pondering them over in your mind as you try to sleep.

3. Create a Good Sleep Environment

Cultivating your optimal sleep environment is critical for getting a good night's sleep. Examine the following to determine how you might improve your sleeping environment:


Body core and brain cooling are natural aspects of the NREM sleep cycle that assist in regulating sleep and are also related to our energy balance.  To assist your body, keep your room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.


Traffic noise is known to interfere with sleep quality and make falling asleep more difficult.  If disturbances in your environment are stopping you from receiving the sleep you need and deserve, try using a curtain or earplugs.

Listening to relaxing music, on the other hand, may help you feel more rested.


Later in the day, exposure to blue light emitted by your phone or laptop can disrupt your body's biological clock. With the presence of blue light from your phone, laptop, and other screens, it may be difficult to avoid!


A recent research assessment discovered that sleeping on a medium-firm mattress improves comfort, sleep quality, and alignment.

It's also considered that utilizing a high rebound mattress topper will help you fall asleep faster by allowing your core body temperature to drop continuously. High rebound toppers are known for being supportive and having a lot of breathability.

4. Diet For Better Sleep

The nutrients you eat (or don't eat) can make or ruin a good night's sleep. Continue reading to find out what you need to add or subtract from your meals to sleep soundly.


Low vitamin D levels are linked to increased stress and poor sleep quality. You can increase your vitamin D intake by doing the following: sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified yogurt, supplements


Whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, have been shown to help with sleep disturbances.


According to recent research, a high tryptophan consumption is associated with increased melatonin production - a chemical in your body that helps you sleep longer. Tryptophan can be found in a variety of foods, including seeds and turkey.


Saffron extract lengthens sleep, makes it easier to fall asleep, and enhances sleep quality. Consider making saffron tea, using it in rice recipes, or adding it to soups.


Consuming alcohol and coffee, as well as eating greater portions of food and drink before bedtime, might hurt your sleep quality and length.

Reduce your coffee consumption 3-6 hours before bedtime, and try having a smaller dinner.

5. Develop a Morning and Evening Routine

A decent night routine may appear obvious to build because it assists you in preparing for sleep. Night routines can incorporate some of the previous processes (listening to soothing music, writing to-do lists).

The goal is to find a nighttime regimen that works for you. Follow this approach if you need help finding the proper blend of relaxing and consistent activities.

A solid night routine is important, but don't overlook the importance of a good morning routine! Your morning routine is equally as vital for getting a good night's sleep.


A good night's sleep is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Use this approach to get the finest night's sleep possible and experience the benefits of having more energy in your life.

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