5 Reasons You're Struggling to Stay Asleep at Night

Mar 06, 2024
5 Reasons You're Struggling to Stay Asleep at Night
Are you struggling to stay asleep every night? Do you end up lying awake, looking for answers? Discover the five reasons for your insomnia and how to improve your symptoms in our latest blog.

There’s nothing worse than dealing with sleep struggles, especially when the lack of sleep begins to impact your daily activities and overall well-being. Unfortunately, insomnia is more common than you might think, affecting between 10-30% of the population.

At Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group, our team of experts understands how important your sleep hygiene is. In fact, we specialize in diagnosing and treating insomnia, helping you overcome any underlying health issues and regain the energy you deserve. 

If you’re tired of tossing and turning every night, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s unravel five reasons you might be struggling to stay asleep at night and what you can do about it.

1. Stress and anxiety 

Stress and anxiety can infiltrate every area of your life and make things more difficult than they would normally be, and this includes your sleep. When your mind is racing with worries about your daily to-do list or entering panic mode right before bed, it can seem impossible to drift off and stay asleep. Here’s why: 

Cortisol levels 

High levels of this stress hormone can interfere with your body’s ability to relax and fall asleep. 


Anxiety often leads to rumination, which is when you overthink and obsess over problems that keep your brain working overtime. This can make it especially difficult to unwind. Luckily, with tools like cognitive behavioral therapy, our team can help you identify and challenge negative thought patterns to make room for a more peaceful state of mind. 

2. Poor sleep environment

Although this might seem obvious to you, it’s surprising how much prioritizing the right sleep environment gets overlooked. If your bedroom is a chaotic space, full of clutter and mess, it can contribute to your sleep struggles. Consider the following factors and tips:


Along with keeping your space tidy, it’s important to sleep in a room that’s neither too hot nor too cold. Aim for a comfortable temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Light exposure 

Try to limit excessive light exposure, especially from screens, right before bed. Dim the lights to make your space feel warm and comforting. 


Nobody wants to fall asleep to loud sounds that jolt them awake. If you’re in an especially noisy location, invest in earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out disruptive sounds and background distractions. 

3. Unhealthy sleep habits 

Now that you’ve improved your sleep environment, it’s important to practice better late-night habits as well. As we touched on lightly before, too much screen time before bed emits blue light and suppresses melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Additionally, throwing off your internal clock with irregular sleep patterns leads to sleep disturbances. Try to aim for consistent bedtimes and set a digital curfew. 

4. Physical discomfort 

Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep like physical discomfort. Whether it’s an uncomfortable pillow or chronic backache troubles, it’s important to address the following factors to improve your sleep routine: 

Mattress and pillows  

It’s crucial to invest in a quality mattress and pillows that suit your sleeping preferences. An unsupportive mattress that’s lumpy, too soft, or too hard, sets you up for a night of tossing and turning. Talk to our team about your physical symptoms, so we can help you identify what kind of sleep setup might be best for you. 

Chronic pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain or acute injuries, it can seem like you’ll never find relief at night. Consulting with our team can offer a great deal of comfort — we offer practical solutions to address your issues along with pain management strategies. 

5. Caffeine and stimulants 

We understand that coffee helps get most people through their busy work life or through a hectic day, but it could also be the culprit for frequent sleep troubles. Here’s how caffeine gets in the way: 

Stimulant effects 

Caffeine and other stimulants can interfere with the neurotransmitter that’s responsible for promoting sleep in your body, adenosine. That’s why it’s especially beneficial to limit your intake of caffeine in the afternoon and evening. 

Withdrawal symptoms

If your daily caffeine fix is addicting, you aren’t alone. You might find that skipping your usual cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening might lead to withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability. This can also disrupt your sleep, which is why we recommend gradually reducing your caffeine intake and replacing it with alternative beverages like herbal teas to promote better sleep. 

In the end, insomnia doesn’t have to define you. By discovering what might be contributing to your sleep struggles, addressing symptoms with our team, and implementing our recommendations, you can reclaim your nights and wake up feeling refreshed again.

If you’re ready to learn more about insomnia and treatment options, call our office at 571-748-4588, or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.