If you find yourself lying awake at night, waiting desperately for sleep to come, you may wonder about the reasons why you can’t sleep. This is most commonly due to insomnia, but there are other situations and causes that might unexpectedly impact your ability to sleep. Discover the reasons why you can’t sleep at night and seek appropriate treatment.
Insomnia is simply the inability to fall or stay asleep. It also describes sleep that is unrefreshing and of poor quality. It may occur over the short-term, often as the result of an identifiable stressor, and be called acute insomnia. It also may become a more chronic situation. Insomnia can lead to great distress, and in exceptional circumstances, it may be fatal (such as in fatal familial insomnia).
For those who are afflicted with restless legs syndrome (RLS), the symptoms associated with it are simply identifiable. Most people with RLS describe an unpleasant sensation in their legs that happens during the evening, often as they are falling asleep, and is relieved by movement. These movements may become extreme enough that you can’t sleep. If associated with uncontrolled movements of the arms or legs—such as in periodic limb movement syndrome (PLMS)—it might even make it difficult for your bed partner to sleep.
Poor Sleep Hygiene
There are multiple reasons why you can’t sleep at night, but discovering a few of these reasons may provide some guidance in treatment. The most likely culprit contributing to your inability to sleep is simply poor sleep hygiene. This odd phrase refers to the behaviors, habits, and choices that might make it difficult for you to sleep. If you can’t sleep, it might be due to your sleep environment, an irregular sleep schedule, or other things that are ruining your sleep. Fortunately, many of these issues can be addressed once they are recognized, with significant improvements in your capability to sleep.