There’s nothing more tranquil than turning down your covers, fluffing up your pillows and slipping into bed to get some much-needed beauty rest — unless your head hits the pillow and all of a sudden you can’t fall asleep. Tossing and turning may ensue, followed by failed attempts at meditation, having a midnight snack (or two), and binge-watching an entire Netflix original series whilst trying to trick your body into falling asleep. On top of already being exhausted, the process itself is ~exhausting.~
Having trouble falling asleep at night is more common than you’d think. Aside from the obvious insomnia culprits (AKA stressing out, watching too much TV, having caffeine before bedtime), there are quite a few sneaky reasons you may have trouble drifting off and logging that precious REM sleep. Listen up, friends, because your beauty sleep matters.
Here are 8 weird reasons you can’t fall asleep.
1Birth control pills
While the many, *many* pros of being on the pill outweigh the cons, they may impact your ability to fall asleep. Long story short, women on the pill are (somewhat) in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, AKA the portion right after ovulation. This is the time during the cycle when your body temperature rises about one-and-a-half degrees. And since your body temperature is supposed to dip when you sleep, the slight increase could be keeping you awake.
It’s not a good enough reason to ditch the pill altogether, but it’s something to consider if you’re having trouble falling asleep so often that you’re living your life like a zombie.
2Your minty toothpaste
In weird-but-true news, a study in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that the presence of peppermint can impact your ability to feel sleepy. It’s not the be-all-end-all of insomnia, but switching to cinnamon or all-natural toothpaste may be just what you need to fall straight asleep.
Thyroid conditions are *super* common in women. In fact, one in eight women will have thyroid issues in her life. And while these issues can easily be controlled with proper medication, the American Thyroid Association estimated roughly 60 percent of the 20 million American afflicted with thyroid problems will go undiagnosed. So if your inability to fall asleep is coupled with night sweats, heat intolerance, tremors, dry eyes, weight loss or anxiety, then it’s time to get checked for hyperthyroidism.
While a glass or two or heart-healthy red wine may induce dozing off, it might not keep you asleep. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne found that having a nightcap does make you feel drowsy, but it also impacts your ability to fall and then stay asleep due to shifting brain activity. If you’re a dedicated nighttime drinker and you just can’t get a proper night’s sleep, consider cutting back so you can catch some worthy zzz’s.
Although it’s commonly associated with lethargy, depression and trouble falling asleep go hand-in-hand. That’s because depression is often a result of a serotonin imbalance in the brain. As the neurotransmitter that plays a role in both your mood and your sleep patterns, healthy serotonin levels are pretty crucial to maintain. So when yours are a little out of whack, so too is your ability to fall asleep.
6Quitting the gym
If the benefits of regular, dedicated exercise seem endless, that’s because they are. Recent studies show that even a little bit of daily cardio will help your body relax at night for an easier time falling and staying asleep. Therefore, skipping out on the gym for weeks on end might be messing with your ability to fall into a sweet REM cycle. Consider getting your heart rate up a few times a week to get the blood pumping. You’ll sleep like a baby.
7The full moon
As creatures of habit, our bodies just love that good old circadian rhythm. So much so that when the moon is full, we (like the tides) get a little bent out of shape. In a 2014 study published by researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researchers found “that total sleep time decreases by 25 minutes… around full moon, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency lengthens by 30 minutes around new moon.” There’s a bright side, though: apparently the sleep you loose during the full moon is made up for during the new moon.
8Your nightly multivitamin
While taking your vitamins before bed is probably a habit, you may want to shift your timing around. In a 2007 study published in Sleep Med, researchers unearthed an association between those who took vitamins before bed and poor sleep habits. While some blame vitamins B6 and B12 for the issue, the study didn’t pinpoint which exact vitamins were to blame. Our advice is to take your multivitamin after or during breakfast. You can use all that energy throughout your day.