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Figuring out why you can’t sleep
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Are you depressed? Do you feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
- Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
- Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
- Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
- Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
- Is your sleep environment quiet and comfortable?
- Are you spending enough time in sunlight during the day and in darkness at night?
- Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?
Preparing your brain for sleepYour brain produces the hormone melatonin to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. As melatonin is controlled by light exposure, not enough natural light during the day can make your brain feel sleepy, while too much artificial light at night can suppress production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. To help naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle and prepare your brain for sleep:
- Increase light exposure during the day. Take breaks outside in sunlight, remove sunglasses when it’s safe to do so, open blinds and curtains during the day.
- Limit artificial light at night. To boost melatonin production, use low-wattage bulbs, cover windows and electrical displays in your bedroom, avoid bright light and turn off television and computer screens at least one hour before bed. If you can’t make your bedroom dark enough, try using an eye mask.