We’ve all been there. Lying awake at night, tossing and turning. Staring at the clock watching the seconds tick by. For some people it’s an occasional annoyance, but if it continues, it can be a bigger problem. Lack of sleep not only makes you drowsy during the day, long term it can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. That’s why it’s important to be proactive. With a little effort and some life changes, you can live healthier with a good night’s rest.

One common reason you may not be able to fall asleep is an improper sleep schedule. Our bodies adapt to going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. If we don’t follow the same schedule every day, our brains don’t know when to go to sleep and when to wake up. While it may be more convenient to stay up late and sleep in on weekends, it’s likely going to keep you from getting to sleep on time during the week.

Not staying on a sleep schedule may not only stop you from getting rest at night, it may also affect the kind of sleep you have. If your sleep is restless or you’re not getting enough of a certain type of sleep, you’ll find yourself feeling tired even when you get your full eight hours.

If you don’t get enough sleep the day before, you’ll probably get some coffee or other caffeinated beverage to get yourself going. The problem is that the caffeine could be what’s causing you to toss and turn. Some people can drink a cup of coffee and go right to bed, but others need several hours or longer for the effects to wear off. While caffeine withdrawal will probably leave you dragging for a while, if you lay off the coffee, you’ll probably start getting enough sleep not to need it.

Stress and anxiety could be a big reason for your tossing and turning. If this is the problem, you probably already know it. You’ll often find your mind running through lists and figuring out problems instead of sleeping or even going to bed. To clear your mind and sleep better, try meditating before bedtime to clear your mind and ease you to sleep.

Another reason your brain might have problems shutting off is because you’re doing other things rather than trying to sleep. While watching tv, reading, or listening to the radio might relax you, it doesn’t necessarily put you to sleep – in fact it might be keeping you awake because these are things your mind associates with being up and moving.

If you have tried all the things listed here but still aren’t able to get to sleep at night, consider seeing a doctor. While most people are hesitant about going on a sleep aid, the side effects are generally less troublesome than the side effects of sleep deprivation. If you’re not sleeping well, it can severely affect your physical and emotional health.

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