Why We Can't Sleep When We're Tired?


22,800 hours, 940 days, 26 years of your life that's enough time to watch 150,000 films or sail around the world 7 times and that's the average amount of healthy sleep you should get in a lifetime, sounds like a lot but the reality is that the world's population is generally sleeping less.


Sleep loss has to do with how our bedtimes align with our circadian rhythms, this affects 

  • How long you can sleep 
  • How tired you are 
  • How easily you fall asleep 

Sleep lost is also linked to your melatonin levels if your body doesn't  enough produce melatonin, your brain has trouble getting you to sleep.

The main reason we sleep less now is our sleep hygiene, which depends on our healthy habits. if you eat well, exercise regularly and get your sleep schedule right, you can beat even bad genes.

But if you do the opposite, even the best gen won't help you sleep well

One of the things that is now affecting our sleep quality and has become more prevalent in the 21st century is light, humans more be sensitive to the slightest changes in the light around us.

You have special receptors in your eyes that respond to these changes and regulate your circadian rhythm, these receptors send data to the brain and set your internal clock, which helps your body prepare for the coming hours and days by analyzing the amount of light.

Now, the artificial light around you in the short wave light from your gadgets can really mess with your natural prediction system.

scientists have found that this can shift your internal clock by 5/6 time zones causing your brain to receive signals to stay awake instead of falling asleep.

What does sleep deprivation do to your body?

sleep deprivation can leave most of us in a bad mood the next day, but that's just the first danger! you'll also have trouble concentrating and remembering details. Your brain doesn't have enough time to properly process and store memories for later

It also needs the right amount of time to process, understand and react to your emotions. If you don't have enough time to do this, negative emotions will take over from positive once.

Getting enough rest contributes to cardiovascular health and overall balance, it's also an investment in your sporting success. Exercises not just about a sudden burst of energy, you also need energy and motivation as well as time for muscle repair. Even for Endurance Sports like running swimming or cycling

And if that's not enough to convince you that you really need sleep, just one hour of sleep can help you automatically release around 300 calories of energy, although the amount varies from person to person and the higher your, weight the greater the amount.

All energy is used for essential functions such as breathing, circulation, body temperature regulation and cell growth and repair.

When you're sleep deprived your body needs more energy and since it can't get it from sleep, your body will get it from food and your hormone levels may be out of whack and your body will produce more hunger hormones and less satiety hormones.

REM sleep cycle

Scientists asked healthy adults to sleep for only 6 hours a day for 5 weeks and their metabolism at rest slowed down by 8%, isn't that interesting?

The first stage of Non-REM sleep

It takes your body about 90 to 110 minutes to go through all the stages of sleep and fully recover itself, that's one sleep cycle that starts with the first stage of NON-REM sleep.

REM is short for rapid eye movement everything slows down including your eye movements and muscles, if someone wakes you up in this stage, you won't feel like you've slept at all. Its normal to feel like you're falling and feel sudden muscle contractions at this stage.

Then in stage 2 of NON-REM sleep

Your eye movement stop in your heart rate and body temperature decrease, your muscles partially contract and then relax and it repeats.

Stage 3 of NON-REM sleep is deep sleep

Your brain produces slow waves, your eyes and muscles don't move, it's hard to wake you up at this stage, about 1 hour after falling asleep you pass through the REM sleep stage

when you usually have vivid dreams, your brain activity increases in your sleep is not so deep.

your main muscle such as those in your arms and legs can't move, the initial period of REM lasts for 10 minutes, then continues for longer, than the cycle repeats from stage 1 of non-rem sleep.

Sleep 7,5 hours

When you plan your sleep time it's important that you don't break the sleep cycle, at least you should go through five cycles per night totaling 7 and a half hours of rest.

  • Wake up at 7 am tomorrow, you have to go to bed at half past 12 pm
  • If you want to set your alarm for 8am to wake up and start the day and go to work or school then your optimistic bedtime starts at 12.30 am Yap you read that's right! it's not about earlier is.

If you missed your bedtime for some reason wait an hour and a half before the next cycle starts, this way you won't wake up tired in the middle of your sleep cycle.

Why you can't sleep when you're tired

We've all had those days when we're so tired that we can barely wait to get into bed but we just can't fall asleep. sleep experts call this conditioned or learned arousal, it's one of the most common sleep problems today because something in your sleep environment is screaming at you to wake you up and keep you from sleeping.

Don't scroll through social media or answer emails on your laptop it's dangerous. 

The blue light emitted by your screen inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your sleep wake cycle aka your circadian rhythm.

Even just thinking about work emails and the possibility of bad news or more work to do can make you nervous. Each new message means your brain has to make a new decision and it needs to stay active to do that.

That's why calming it down will take a while and it starts when you put your phone away and put your head on your pillow.

To fall asleep faster, try listening to music for 25 to 60 minutes before bed, it doesn't have to be Radiohead music, you can choose other soothing music like jazz or soft songs can slow down your heart rate and breathing speed and help you to relax.

If you do this regularly your brain will recognize it as a bedtime ritual and you'll fall asleep faster

You can also listen to sleep podcasts or audiobooks, as long as the narrators voice is soothing in the story is not nerve wracking

The sizzling sound of fried sliced meat has a similar effect on your brain, it's comforting and repetitive enough to send calming vibrations to your brain. It's perfect for sleep or as white noise when you're working and need to focus on something but you don't have to bother with fried bacon before bed, just listening to the recording is enough.

Your report is overdue, there's a new person at work who seems to have a crush on you, do you have to watch that movie everyone's talking about? Then, when are you going to iron the clothes that have piled up?

The thoughts racing through your brain before going to bed won't make you relax.

Try waking up and writing them down so you don't get overwhelmed again or you can put them into a painting or a poem. Another idea maybe making a meaningless list in your mind "plan what you'll bring on your vacation to Mars or estimate how you'll decorate your restaurant" could work

You don't have to know how many hours the alarm will on, just set it and hide it out of sight! put it in a drawer or under your bed cause every time you see it your brain perceives it as an urge to get up, than what next? You'll get used to this process and will probably wake up at night just for that.

You can also plays your mind "stop trying to sleep altogether" you might realize that it's much easier to fall asleep on the couch than in the most comfortable bed.

Imagine you have an important test or interview tomorrow, morning you know you need 8 hours of sleep but you don't feel tired at all. Try lying on your bed and forcing yourself to sleep, then when it's 4 hours of sleep you can move to the sofa.

The living room is a different vibe, one that is most likely filled with happy memories and most importantly, your brain doesn't associated with you trying to sleep, without all that pressure you can relax and go right to sleep.

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