For most people, going to bed after a long and tiring day is an easy task—they just lie down and doze off. But for an unlucky few, falling off to sleep can be a tedious process of steps and routines, and even before they complete it, it’s time to wake up.
The inability to fall asleep, or insomnia, can have some serious repercussions and can trigger many health complications, which can range from mild to severe. From a bad headache and irritability to lower back pain to more serious problems such as a poor immunity to cardiovascular issues, insomnia can be a dangerous health disorder to deal with.
So, before you lose more sleep over your inability to get proper sleep, we take a look at three reasons that could be the cause of your misery and what you can do to fix them.
1. You’re Unable To Switch Off Your Brain
The biggest reason for not being able to fall asleep when you want to is an inability to shut your mind off. Bad sleep habits, which you’ve developed over the years, such as different sleep timings, engaging in work or any other activity right before getting into bed, staring at a blue light on your phone or laptop screen could be other reasons.
What Can Help
- Re-do your sleep time-table by shutting off all activity—listening to music, reading a book or just watching TV—at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
- Lie down on your bed and close your eyes. If you are unable to fall asleep in the next 10 to 15 minutes, get up and make yourself a glass of warm milk and add a teaspoon of honey to it. Honey and milk act as a natural sleeping aid
- Get back to bed, sit down and sip on the milk slowly, with your eyes closed. All the while think about going back to sleep. Once you’ve finished drinking it, slowly keep the glass down and lie down.
Natural Cure: Hops, also known as Humulus lupulus, can give you the much-needed shut-eye. You can have it as a tea or a tincture, both of which are available in herbal stores. For the exact dosage, read the instructions on the package or speak to your doctor about it. 
2. Your Habits & Stress Are Ruining Your Sleep
Sometimes your regular sleeping habits combined with stress can leave you tossing and turning in bed. Doctors define this as the precipitating and the perpetuating cause.
A precipitating cause describes a stressful situation that disrupts your sleep, while a perpetuating cause is one where your behavior disrupts your sleep such as not going to bed on time when you are already sleepy.
What To Do
- If you are stressed out about something, try to sort it out before you go to bed. If that is not possible, write down a possible solution in your sleep journal and go to bed with a quiet mind.
- You can do a few breathing exercises to help you calm down and let you sleep better at bedtime.
- Also, make it a point to sleep at the same time each day, no matter how busy you are.
Natural Cure: California Poppy, also known as Eschscholzia californica can ease your stress, which could be a reason for your sleeplessness. Protopine, the active ingredient in it, acts as a natural sedative. Mix 20 to 30 drops of this tincture in a cup of warm water and drink once in the evening and once right before bedtime. Remember to speak to your doctor before you use it. 
3. You Think Too Much About It
One of the biggest mistakes that most sleep sufferers make is to constantly think why they are not able to sleep. If you are lying in bed for a long time and wondering what is keeping you awake, it will only keep your brain active and ruin any chances of you falling in a deep slumber.
What To Do
- While it is good to maintain a sleep journal that will help you or your therapist understand your sleep patterns and work towards helping you get better sleep, don’t get obsessed with it.
- Use your journal to jot down your sleep and wake up timings, but do not waste time thinking about it, especially before you are about to sleep.
Natural Cure: Magnolia bark, also known as Magnolia officinalis, is extremely effective and can make you sleepy within minutes of consuming it. You can get the herb in capsule form at your local herbal store. Have a 200mg capsule dosage right before bedtime but make sure you speak to your doctor about it first. 
Did You Know?
Here are some interesting facts about sleep that you may not be aware of:
- Humans are the only mammals who delay falling asleep by choice
- While exercising daily will help sleep better, exercising once in a while or right before bedtime can have the opposite effect
- The two peak times in a 24-hour cycle when you are most sleepy are at 2pm in the afternoon and at 2am in the night (or morning!)
- Self-imposed sleep deprivation is one of the biggest reasons for excessive sleepiness
- As winter season approaches, the shift in light and darkness can also ruin your sleep pattern
- It is easier for a human to survive without food than to survive without sleep
For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.
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1. The Sedative Effects of Hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. 1: Franco L, Sánchez C, Bravo R, Rodriguez A, Barriga C, Juánez JC. The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. Acta Physiol Hung. 2012 Jun;99(2):133-9. doi:10.1556/APhysiol.99.2012.2.6. PubMed PMID: 22849837. (Accessed 8Sep 2015)
2. Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Insomnia. Saddichha, Sahoo. “Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Insomnia.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 13.2 (2010): 94–102. PMC. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. (Accessed 8Sep 2015)
3. Effect of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora) on cortisol and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Talbott, Shawn M, Julie A Talbott, and Mike Pugh. “Effect of Magnolia Officinalis and Phellodendron Amurense (Relora®) on Cortisol and Psychological Mood State in Moderately Stressed Subjects.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10 (2013): 37. PMC. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. (Accessed 8Sep 2015)