If you are not sleeping well, what stops you sleeping? We are in an ‘epidemic of sleeplessness’, it seems. Not that it helps you to know that, but it is helpful to know some basic facts that will help you regain your healthy sleep habits.

We now sleep, on average, 20 percent less than we did a century ago. Back then we were more likely to sleep and wake in in time with the natural rhythms of day and night. Researcher Stanley Coren has shown that a reduction of just 10 per cent can have an effect on how we think and behave.

Trying to understand what stops you sleeping can just make matters worse. Focus instead on removing these common obstacles and restoring healthy sleep habits.

The sleep statistics for the UK are surprising: One third of us suffer from deprived sleep and a quarter of us feel sleepy in the daytime as a result. Some have difficulty getting to sleep, others wake frequently or sleep so lightly that they are under the impression that they barely sleep at all.

You may be one of them, if you are, you’ll know that the worry often escalates the problem.

Losing sleep is bad enough, but feeling bad about it just makes things worse. The stress and worry about how loss of sleep will affect us the following day is enough to keep anyone awake at night. Added to that, ruminating on what stops you sleeping will only make matters worse. How you feel about your sleep affects not only how you feel the next day, it can also begin to predict how you’ll sleep on nights to come.

Here’s what to do to sleep well and wake happy

The first thing I recommend is that you check out The SleepWell Plan, This is my online course to beat insomnia and restore natural, healthy sleep. You get all you need to fix the problem of insomnia, with support fro me if you need it.

If you don’t want to pay (the extremely reasonable price) and prefer to do it yourself, there are the obvious lifestyle factors related to being able to sleep well. Ensuring good sleep habits can reduce the factors the that contribute to disturbed sleep:

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine
  • Plan your sleep time by relaxing and winding down before bed
  • Avoid alcohol and stimulants during that time (e.g. 2 hours)
  • Ditto technology (mobile phones and computers)
  • Sleep in a nice place; keep bedroom tidy and comfortable, no TV or computer
  • Exercise regularly during the day, eat lightly in the evenings
  • Practice good stress management habits
  • Deal with worries.

Remember, being able to sleep well doesn’t depend on fixed ability nor even the same amount of sleep each night. If you don’t get enough of it one night, you can always resolve to catch up by doing better next time. Work towards good quality sleep, rather than treating it like a scarce commodity.

You may never know for sure what stops you sleeping, but knowing that you can do something about it.

See also

Losing Sleep? How to Use the Time

15 Science-Backed Ways To Fall Asleep Faster

Coren, S. (1997), Sleep Thieves, Free Press, London.