The “Why” Behind “Why Can’t I Sleep?”

Finding the “why” helped me find the solution to better sleep.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

In struggling with sleep, I have had to not only try tips and tricks but also go to the root cause of WHY I wasn’t sleeping well. In my experience, it has been more beneficial to go to the source of the problem, rather than simply treating the symptoms. What I have found, barring any physical conditions or nutritional deficiencies, is that the inability to sleep starts in my MIND.

I have spent so many nights waiting to fall asleep, despite being mentally and physically exhausted. Sleep escaped me, and when I finally DID sleep, I couldn’t get any real rest. I would wake up feeling almost as tired as when I went to sleep. 

What causes this? What fixes it? There are plenty of suggestions for falling asleep, but I have learned that the real reason for my difficulties lies with what happens while I am AWAKE. 

That’s right. Everything that happens during the day, the information I take in and process, every interaction with people, every thought I have about myself—all that contributes to my state of mind at the end of the day.

I have hard days at work where I am underappreciated and overworked. I carry the anger and resentment about that all through the day and back home with me. When I lie down to sleep, the injustice of it all will replay over and over in my head, making sleep impossible. 

Sometimes, I put myself down for a perceived failure, whether it’s real or not. That becomes an endless cycle of rehashing the event, my actions, judging my actions, and then castigating myself for not knowing/doing “better.”

A constant problematic theme is the insecurity of never measuring up for another person—primarily a family member that claims to love me. How can I truly be at peace and rest when I am always being shown where I have failed or that I am never quite good enough? How can I relax when I know that my performance is always rated and compared to the next person?

What if it’s something as simple as self-hatred, which comes in many forms? I have felt guilty, insecure, inferior, ugly, unloved, and like a failure. If that’s how I see myself and believe myself to be, how can I have the peace within to sleep and heal? I will constantly be striving to somehow change myself. 

But if I realize there is nothing wrong with me, that I am always growing and learning, that I have proven myself to be strong, loyal, courageous, affectionate, and loving, my view of myself drastically changes! I can like myself—even be kind to myself like I try to be to others.

Imagine the life-changing effect of liking yourself! For me, it is the key to having contentment where I am at, rather than constantly feeling like I need to “get somewhere.” That brings an internal peace and calm that allows me to rest, both mentally and physically. 

After finding mental peace, any other things I use such as sounds, a hot bath, or a massage, work very well, but only because I have first addressed what is really bothering me. By taking care of the source of my problem, I eliminate the problem. When my mind is at rest, my body can rest.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

How much sleep do you really need?

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

by Lynette Kearney

Sleep with me and it will change your life!

by Dipti Tait

Elizabeth Grojean of Baloo Living: “Create your own sleep sanctuary”

by Tyler Gallagher
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.