5 Reasons You Can’t Sleep—and 5 Fast Fixes

5 Reasons You Can’t Sleep—and 5 Fast Fixes

If you’re struggling to get quality shuteye at night, these strategies might help.


By Debbie Koenig

It’s bedtime, you’re tired, and yet you can’t sleep. Or maybe you drift off easily, but 3AM finds you wide-awake, desperate to catch what remains of your 40 winks. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 57% of women experience insomnia a few times a week—and a whopping 74% of stay-at-home moms report having symptoms. In many cases, the causes are clear. A few simple fixes may be all you need to sleep soundly again:

1. The hamster in your brain won’t get off his wheel. Whether you’re stressing about tomorrow’s big presentation or junior’s upcoming birthday party, it’s hard to sleep when thoughts keep spinning. THE FIX: Try a technique called Progressive Relaxation, which directs your mind towards physical sensations in your body. Breathe deeply and steadily. Working your way down your body, briefly tense and then slowly release the muscle groups in this order: face, shoulders and arms, chest and abdomen, back, hips and buttocks, and finally legs and feet.

2. The person lying next to you snores. A lot. Some people use a white noise machine to help them sleep, but loud, staccato droning from the nearby pillow usually has the opposite effect. THE FIX: Bear with us—this suggestion from an expert at the National Sleep Foundation may seem unusual. If you’ve noticed that your partner only snores while lying on their back, sew a pocket positioned between the shoulder blades on t-shirt that fits them snugly. Just before your partner goes to sleep, pop a tennis ball in the pocket. That’ll make it too uncomfortable to sleep facing up! If the snoring seems really bad, consult a sleep specialist—it may be sleep apnea.

3. You’re 50ish. An unfortunate side-effect of being a woman is that our hormones surge and drop as we age. During perimenopause and menopause, you may wake drenched with sweat from hot flashes. THE FIX: Lower the temperature in your bedroom, keep a change of pajamas near the bed for quick swaps, and consider investing in special sheets designed to stay cool.

More from P&G everyday: 5 Simple Changes That Will Improve Your Sleep

4. Your pillow’s full of microscopic bugs. Yeah, that sounds gross. But dust mites, considered among the most common allergens, feast on shed skin cells—which fall into soft bedding as we sleep. An average-sized adult sheds enough skin every day to feed 1,000,000 dust mites! If you’re among the many who are allergic, you may be having trouble breathing at bedtime. THE FIX: Cover your pillow, mattress, and box spring in special allergen-proof cases. Wash sheets, blankets, and throw rugs regularly in hot water, and remove any fabric items or rugs that can’t be cleaned easily (bye-bye wall-to-wall carpets, heavy curtains, and upholstered furniture).

5. You’re caffeinating too late. The late-afternoon coffee break may get you through a long day, but it can also make for a rough night—one study found that caffeine six hours before bedtime can shortchange your sleep by more than an hour. THE FIX: As much as we’d like to say just switch to decaf in the afternoon, that won’t cut it. Aim for no more than three 8-ounce cups of coffee (or other caffeine-containing items) each day, and don’t have any for at least six hours before bedtime.

How do you help yourself fall asleep at night?


Debbie Koenig writes about family and food, and is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. Find her at
debbiekoenig.com.

Image ©iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz


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Hollie

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Great tips! I have terrible insomnia so I will definitely be trying these out!

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PGeveryday

PGeveryday

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@Connie - Thanks for your comment and being part of our community!

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Connie

Connie

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Great and useful info. Will be checking it out daily. Thanks

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