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The “Why” Behind “Why Can’t I Sleep?”

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


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.

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