What’s It Called When You Can’t Sleep?

Sleep might come easily to some of us but for the rest, it can be a huge problem. We have people asking us what it’s called when you can’t sleep. Before we jump into the solutions you can try, you should know that this problem of not being able to sleep when going to a higher level is called insomnia. A huge chunk of the population suffers from insomnia and we keep hearing people whine that I’m tired but I can’t sleep.

This can be agitating because not getting enough sleep time at night means the rest of the day getting disrupted as well. This is why we’ve curated this article to help you out. We will first help you figure out an answer to why can’t I sleep through the night and then move on to what to do when you can’t sleep and are bored. Keep reading and try to incorporate these steps into your life one day at a time. The results might astonish you so stay tuned and find out more.

What Is It Called?

To clear out the first issue of not knowing what it means, let’s go to the name. If you are having trouble going to sleep then you might be suffering insomnia. Insomnia is a medical condition in which individuals find themselves wide awake at night trying to go to sleep but failing. This is not just limited to difficulty at going to sleep but also maintaining sleep, not waking up after every little while, and not getting quality amounts. This has turned into a very common issue and a huge population of people complains about not getting enough sleep or sleep at all.

Because of not getting enough sleep, people find themselves to be in a horrible mood for the rest of the day and feel like their energy is drained out. When one is feeling drained of energy and tired right after waking up, the work rate and levels of activity are going to be lowered a lot as well.

This is why people who have insomnia want to find ways to cure it because of how damaging it can be. It will not just take a toll on your moods and your mental health but might turn things upside down in your life as well. Recently the National Institute of Health researched that around 30 % of adults have amnesia while around 10% are those who have symptoms of daytime functional impairment which is consistent with the patients of insomnia. There are also three types of insomnia.

Chronic, Transient, or Acute?

Acute insomnia is short-term insomnia in which patients can’t sleep for less than a month or so. This type of insomnia usually gets cleared up when the personal lives of patients are sorted out. It is said that acute insomnia is usually because of high levels of stress. As soon as this stress goes away, acute insomnia or short term insomnia can also be cured. People usually go through acute insomnia when they might have important deadlines or a new job, etc.

As said before it is most often resolved on its own when the element which is causing the stress goes away. This can be if they adapt to the new situation or if the stressor goes away.

Transient insomnia is short term insomnia as well and usually lasts for about a week or so. The main reason behind transient insomnia is a change that might be causing stress. People who have to live in new environments or settings sometimes have difficulty sleeping or keep waking up in the middle of the night. This is because of transient insomnia. Sometimes it can be caused by depression as well.

Lastly, we have chronic insomnia which is the first of all. Chronic insomnia is long term insomnia. In most of the cases when we hear people complain why can’t I sleep through the night, it is because of transient or acute insomnia. But slowly, with new barriers of stress and depression in our lives, chronic insomnia is becoming common too. Chronic insomnia lasts for more than a month and is much more harmful to our health. It is associated with a psychiatric condition and chronic medical conditions.

Why Can’t I Sleep Through The Night?

Before we try to find out sleeping problems solutions, it is crucial to first find out why you can’t sleep properly at night. This can be a huge problem and it is important to go to the roots of the problem to solve it for good. Down below we have some ideas for your question why can’t I sleep through the night.

1.   Your Environment

The environment of your sleeping space tells a lot about why you might not be getting enough sleep or about the quality of your sleep. People who sleep in warm rooms when the weather is warm as well might think that it feels cozy but that is just for the time being. As soon as the night continues and if they manage to fall asleep, they are bound to wake up at one point or another because of the environment.

With the temperature of the environment being one thing, there is also the hurdle of sounds. Make sure that no sounds or voices are interrupting your sleep time. The type and material of the mattress or your bed also count. Things poking you in the middle of the night which were left on your bed etc can be the number one component behind disturbed sleep.

2.   Stress

Mental peace is very crucial if one plans on sleeping through the night without any hindrances. People who are going through stressful situations or have something on their mind which is causing them stress will find it difficult to either sleep through the night or get quality sleep. Other mental issues can cause you trouble while you’re trying to sleep such as anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia or depression, etc.

If you find yourself going through any of these, you will find yourself saying I’m tired but I can’t sleep. It is important to go to a professional who can help you out with your underlying stressors. Once that is resolved and away, you can be sure that your sleep will be back on track.

3.   Eating Habits

Your lifestyle plays a huge role in your ability to go to sleep. The inability to sleep at least eight hours every night will result in a lack of activity levels for the next day. You will have trouble functioning and might find yourself drained out through the day. Your eating habits can affect your sleep too. Eating just before you’re about to sleep is one big issue. Indigestion will make it impossible for you to sleep since you might face issues with bowel movements or acid reflux.

Furthermore, consuming too much processed, fried or heavy food will make it tough for you to properly sleep at night.

4.   Drug and Caffeine Consumption

People who drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes complain more about sleeping issues than the rest of the people. Consuming a large amount of alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine near the time when you are supposed to sleep will disrupt your sleeping schedule.

Often people tend to opt for alcohol to help themselves sleep but this sleep is temporary. As soon as the effects of the drink will come off, you will find yourself waking up in the middle of the night. And hence, this is one way your quality of sleep will be destroyed.

Next up, cigarettes have nicotine in them which also affects your sleeping routine. It prevents smokers from having a good deep sleep. One more reason why smokers find it hard to sleep is that after a while their body will start craving nicotine and push them to wake up.

Lastly, caffeine is the one thing that is supposed to be the best at fighting off sleep. So if you are consuming caffeine before your bedtime you are in for a horrible night. It takes about 8 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. Drinking it even a few hours before will give birth to various sleeping problems for you.

5.   Medications

A lot of drugs and medicines prescribed by doctors can cause sleeplessness. Medicines for high blood pressure antidepressants, corticosteroids to treat asthma or inflammation, and other such medicines come with side effects such as sleeplessness. If you are already having trouble then you might want to do some research and check what the side effects are of each to avoid any further issues.

Talk to your doctors and let them know what issues you are facing already so that they can prescribe medicines to you which do not further aggravate your sleeping problems.

6.   Age

Aging comes with a lot of cons. One such con is that of not being able to sleep properly. The human body has a natural cycle of sleep which gets disturbed as when it starts to age there is a sudden change in the body’s sleep rhythm. We have seen a lot of cases when the elders in the family or the older people would want to go to sleep early as they are tired more. At an older age, people will want to go to sleep early at night and will be up early in the morning.

Even if they do go to sleep at a healthy time and wake up at a healthy time, the amount of sleep they will be getting in between won’t be much. With the amount, there will also be an issue in the quality of sleep. Aging people will sleep lighter and won’t be getting enough time in REM or deep sleep.

Things To Do When You Can’t Sleep

For all those people who are trying to figure out how to fall asleep when you can’t, we are here to help you out. There are some changes that you will need to incorporate into your lifestyle to get proper sleep. This is very important as this is not something that you can achieve in a day. Working on your sleep schedule will not show any results immediately but you will soon be sleeping better and for longer periods when your body starts adjusting to the new lifestyle.

1.   Sleeping Environment

As mentioned above, it is important to have a peaceful sleeping environment. This is the stepping stone for getting proper sleep and might just be the reason why you aren’t able to sleep properly. First of all start by clearing up any clutter in your room, especially on your bed. You don’t want random objects squishing underneath you while you sleep.

Once a thorough cleanup of your bed is done, move on to working on the temperature of your room. Keep your window open if you live in a warmer place. This will ensure that cold air flows in your room and the ventilation process is going on. Next up, make sure that the room doesn’t get too cold or you might find yourself trying to cover up.

2.   Workout

Working out can be excellent for you in all spheres of your life. When you work out and have some movement throughout the day, you will be tired by the end of the day. This exhaustion will help in pouting you to sleep without you lying there staring at the wall. Furthermore, there are also the added benefits of mental peace. When you workout, your body produces happy chemicals and helps distressing you.

Since stress is a huge factor in insomnia, having somewhere to channel your energy and letting out stress can help you a lot. Just make sure that you don’t work out too much or right before your sleeping time as that will just make it harder for you to fall asleep.

3.   Don’t Sleep During The Day

Napping in the daytime will help cover up your body’s sleeping needs and you will find yourself lying awake at night. This is because you have ridden your body of all the exhaustion during your nap. You might think that you are tired enough to sleep twice or thrice but that is not true.

Try to limit your nap times. If you sleep more than twice in a day then reduce it to a time nap session. also, make sure that if you are napping then restrict it to a little while. Your naps shouldn’t be going on for hours at times. Early afternoons are a good time to nap if you feel the need to get one but make sure that it doesn’t get any later any early afternoons. Also, your naps should be around 20-30 minutes or you will feel groggy after you wake up and won’t be able to sleep at night.

4.   Move Around

A lot of times we are not sleepy yet we still stay in bed and keep frustrating ourselves further. If that is the case with you when you have been lying in bed for hours and can’t seem to fall asleep, then you should take a break from trying so hard. Get out of bed and move around the house. If you can then take a short walk for about 10-15 minutes.

Getting some fresh air will also help in opening up your mind and getting rid of any discomfort. While you’re up don’t do anything that’s going to make you more hyperactive. Try going for things such as spreading or meditation which might make you feel relaxed or drowsy. Playing games that involve reading, etc can help in calming your nerves and as a result, you will be able to go to sleep more easily.

5.   Journaling

A lot of people feel like they can’t go to sleep because of their thoughts. These thoughts can be related to anything and everything. If you find yourself lying in bed thinking about trivial things, you will have a lot of difficulties sleeping. Since it is going to be an unfulfilling conversation, there are a lot of chances that you are going to waste half the night away just thinking about something that’s stressing you or something that might have happened throughout the day.

One helpful tip for this is to take up journaling. When you are journaling, make a note to jot down all that has happened throughout the day. This way you have physical proof of jotting down the details of your day and won’t have to think about them repeatedly. Also, journaling can be similar to having a conversation with yourself. If you write down all the thoughts, you will be able to think more clearly as that is going to require some level of concentration.

6.   Sleep Restriction

This is one method suggested by professionals for all those people who have trouble sleeping and might be suffering from acute or chronic insomnia. The idea behind this procedure is not to restrict your sleep but to restrict your time in bed.

To explain this better, a lot of time we might be going to bed at 11 pm but fall asleep by 1 am. Now keep those two extra hours in bed before falling asleep. Next, when we wake up, we don’t instantly get out of bed. We spend some additional time in bed having our breakfast, or reading a newspaper, or checking our phones. This adds to an additional half an hour or an hour of us being in bed but not sleeping.

Now if you slept from 1 AM to 6 AM, you will be getting around 5 hours of sleep but your time in bed will be 9 hours. Now when professionals suggest sleep restriction to such a person, they will ask them to go to bed at the exact time when they usually fall asleep and not before that. This will help in building up sleeping pressure and will tire you out enough that as soon as you hit the bed you will be out. This is the easiest answer to what to do when you can’t sleep and are bored.

Sleep restriction is a more professional way of dealing with insomnia and there are several types of research proving its usefulness. This process can help in increasing your sleep efficiency. What this means is that you will be experiencing a deeper level of sleep and can avoid waking up several times a night with the help of sleep restriction.

7.   Caffeine and Drug Consumption

As mentioned above, it takes around 8 hours for the complete effects of caffeine to be out of your system. If you want to you can consume coffee 5 hours before bed but that’s the latest you can go for. Also not to opt for alcohol to help you sleep as it’s just going to put you to sleep but won’t help in getting you any quality sleep time. Plus the hangover will be even worse.

Using other drugs before bedtimes such as a joint, weed, or cocaine will also have adverse effects on your health and sleep as you will see that there will be a lot of pent up energy in you. With all this energy, you will be tossing and turning the entire night.


Not getting enough sleep can be extremely harmful to your health. It won’t just affect your mental health but will take a toll on your progress in your daily activities as well. The things mentioned above to do when you can’t sleep all require some sort of changes in your life. Putting all of them in work on the first day might be hard so try to integrate them into your daily routine one day at a time and see where it leads you. If the problem persists, then go to a professional and get an expert opinion.