8 Reasons You Can’t Sleep and How To Cope

A good night’s sleep is crucial to your health and wellbeing. If one or more of these eight culprits is to blame for your lack of sleep, find out how to cope!


Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

The demands of your work, worrying about paying the bills, post-traumatic stress disorder, family obligations – are some stressors that affect many of us and cause us to “lose sleep.”

How to cope: Managing stress and the need for sleep can be challenging, and you should seek help from your medical practitioner to overcome it. At Moss Street Healthcare we take a holistic approach to helping you manage stress in your life. Alternative methods can reduce or eliminate stress symptoms. Exercise has been well documented as a stress-reducer, as has acupuncture, chiropractic care, nutrition, homeopathic remedies, deep breathing, and meditation. Hypnosis and therapeutic massage are also highly effective alternative treatments to prescription drugs.


Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make symptoms of anxiety, and depression worse. Other common emotional and psychological reasons include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma.

How to cope: Our holistic approach to insomnia can combine therapies such as deep relaxation, herbal medicines, yoga, therapeutic massage, acupressure, and hypnosis. Your holistic medical practitioner may include conventional methods with these therapies.


For people with chronic discomfort — from a backache to fibromyalgia to the pain of cancer — sleep issues are especially common. And physical suffering is one of the most common causes of insomnia. Difficulty falling asleep and or trouble staying asleep, can, in turn, cause heightened pain and worsening sleep.

How to cope: Your medical practitioner will help identify the cause of your pain. He or she may suggest some of the following treatments to help alleviate your discomfort, allowing you to sleep. Acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, herbal supplements, vitamins, stress reduction techniques, relaxation therapy, psychological counselling, hypnosis, and therapeutic massage have all proven helpful in managing chronic pain.


problems in the last trimester include digestive upsets, frequent urination during the night, back pain, sciatica, anxiety, hormonal changes and discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen. Physiological changes of the abdomen, posture, and pelvis can result in a misaligned spine or joints causing body pain, internal pressure on organs, and heartburn – resulting in poor sleep.

How to cope:

  • See your chiropractor for a consultation. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively and relieves back, neck and joint pain.
  • Try new sleeping positions. A pillow beneath your abdomen and knees can relieve back strain.
  • Prepare yourself for bedtime by taking a warm bath and drinking some warm milk.
  • Have a therapeutic massage to induce relaxation and reduce discomfort.
  • Try relaxation and breathing techniques (often taught in childbirth classes)
  • Exercise daily, even if you just go for a walk.
  • Catch up on some sleep with a brief daytime nap if you can, but early afternoon is best.


Sadness, worry, postpartum depression, hormonal imbalance, menopause, grieving, and chronic pain can cause distress. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. [1]

How to cope: If you feel depressed, you should see your doctor who will give you a physical check-up and may refer you to a psychologist or counsellor. Taking medication is only one of many treatment options. A holistic approach focuses on treating your whole being — body and mind — to help you feel better. A healthy diet, exercise, and talk therapy are a few of the holistic approaches you can use, along with your medication, to help speed recovery from depression. [2]

Screen stimulus:

Your brain naturally creates the hormone, melatonin that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The light coming from televisions, tablets, smartphones and computer screens at bedtime affects the brain’s melatonin production and gives your body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep. Holding a device like a cell phone, close to your face increases the effect.

How to cope: Turn off electronic screen devices an hour or two before bedtime. The “downtime” will give your brain a rest and the correct signal that it is time for sleep.

Alcohol and Caffeine:

Alcohol in excess is a depressant and can also cause wakefulness after the second drink, Overconsumption can also result in reduced sleep quality when retiring to bed.

Caffeinated beverages are notorious for stimulating the system and causing wakefulness.

How to cope: Limit your daily consumption of caffeinated drinks to two, (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) and don’t have anything with caffeine after 1 pm. Substitute your caffeinated drinks with decaf and herbal teas.

A noisy sleep partner:

Snoring during sleep is hard on the sleeper as well as the person listening. Your snoring can keep you from falling asleep, or waken you in the night. Another sleep disorder linked to insomnia is sleep apnea in which a person’s airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Partial or complete obstruction leads to pauses in breathing and a drop in oxygen levels, causing the person to wake up briefly but repeatedly throughout the night.

Grinding one’s teeth while asleep is called bruxism. Teeth grinding can be caused by sleep apnea, or stress and anxiety and often occurs during sleep. However, an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth are the most common causes of bruxism.

How to cope:

  • See your dentist about teeth grinding (bruxism) and discuss getting a mouth guard or splint to wear at night while sleeping.
  • Ask your dentist to correct misaligned teeth if appropriate.
  • Your dentist can also help you with sleep apnea by fitting you with an oral appliance – a mouth guard-like device, worn only during sleep, to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.
  • Your doctor may suggest a muscle relaxant as a short-term remedy.
  • Acupuncture/acupressure can help mild to moderate sleep apnea. It works by stimulating the muscles of the upper respiratory airways, which usually collapse during episodes of sleep apnea.

[1] sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/depression-and-sleep

[2] (https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/holistic-medicine#1)