We’ve all been there—the tossing and turning, the checking your clock every 10 minutes. You’re exhausted, yet you can’t sleep. When you do eventually fall asleep, you feel as if you hadn’t slept at all. You wake up tired, go to work tired, then repeat the cycle all over again.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Sleep issues are common, but they don’t have to result in numbing exhaustion day in and day out! Here’s what can lead to overtiredness and the steps you can take to achieve a good night’s rest.
Why you can’t sleep at night
Technology dominates every second of our waking lives. Those with a desk job might stare at their computer screens all day, only to come home and watch TV shows until bedtime. Phones are with us everywhere we go, too, constantly pinging with notifications that divert our attention. To put it simply, we’re always plugged in. Whether it’s blue light disrupting melatonin production or a phone dinging in the middle of the night, tech can play a major role in disturbing your sleep.
Technology alone isn’t to blame for all those restless nights, though. We’re living in an age of hustle culture that leaves us with two choices: keep up or fall behind. You might try to cram work into every waking second by eating lunch at your desk or checking emails while you drive. Unfortunately, this can’t-stop-won’t-stop attitude can begin to show up in your sleeping patterns. You might spend all day struggling to keep your eyes open at school or work, but the second your head hits the pillow, your mind won’t stop buzzing about what’s on the agenda for tomorrow.
A major misconception is that resting and sleep aren’t mutually exclusive. Too many people think if they’re awake, they have to constantly remain productive. This simply isn’t true, and it’s ruining what little reprieve you get at night. If you go all day without a second to relax, it puts way too much pressure on your meager hours of sleep to fully recharge. Your brain needs little breaks throughout the day.
Signs your brain needs to recharge
The first step in reclaiming your sleep is recognizing the signs of burnout. This might be hard for some, especially since today’s society has told us to push through when life gets stressful. However, it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself if you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms:
- You’re too tired to sleep: It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but many people can relate. The most obvious sign of overtiredness is not being able to shut off your brain at night. You clearly need sleep, but your brain has grown accustomed to clinging onto the stressors of everyday life. Your body has progressed beyond the stage of sleepiness and is now running on false energy.
- You crave sugary snacks: If you have poor sleep quality, chances are you feel stressed during the day. Stress raises adrenaline levels and tells the body that danger is lurking around the corner. There’s no real danger, but nevertheless, you suddenly crave sugary foods that provide a temporary spike in energy. Unfortunately, large amounts of sugar always end with a crash.
- You catch colds all the time: Adequate sleep is essential for supporting the immune system. Someone who suffers from poor sleep quality or duration has weakened defenses against common illnesses, leading to frequent health problems that are mild but still interfere with the ability to perform well at school or work.
Healthy lifestyle habits for restful sleep
It’s never too late to counteract the negative effects of a busy, technology-filled lifestyle. The following habits are simple, yet go a long way toward letting your brain take a breather:
- Savor the in-between moments: Find little moments in your schedule where you get to do nothing. Whether you’re sitting in the parking lot or waiting for an appointment to start, put your phone away and allow yourself to simply be. Your brain needs rest during the day, even if you’re not asleep.
- Step out of the bedroom: If you’re struggling to fall asleep, walk into a different room until your mind relaxes. It’s easier to sleep when the bedroom is associated with a calm, clear head. Do something that doesn’t involve technology, like reading a book or grabbing a glass of water, then return to bed when you’re ready.
Above all else, listen to your body. It’ll always tell you the truth, especially when it’s time to give your mind some rest. Speak with a healthcare provider if these tips don’t get your sleep back on track. The two of you can work together to come up with a solution that banishes over-exhaustion from your life for good!