Oh, look. It's your bedroom ceiling.
Except you're supposed to be looking at the inside of your eyelids. Instead, you're looking at the start of another sleepless night. Maybe you're not sure why you're awake. Or, you know why, but have no idea what to do about it.
Don't worry, these 9 tips will help send you to dreamland in no time.
More than one kind of sleepless night
As with many types of medical conditions, insomnia has classifications. If you're only losing a night here or there, you might be experiencing acute insomnia. If you're staring at the wall more than three nights a month, it's chronic.
Both conditions not only affect your nights, but your days as well. You may have difficulty concentrating at work and, in an ironic twist, experience difficulties staying awake.
It may not only be bothering you, either. Your tossing and turning could be keeping your partner awake, too.
So, why am I awake?
There can be a number of underlying causes for insomnia. If it's acute, it could be something like stress about an upcoming deadline. Once the project's over, many people can get back to their normal sleep patterns. But those are the easier fixes.
Chronic insomnia can have reasons more difficult to figure out and correct. And the stress from that process can lead to more sleepless nights.
External things that affect your sleep
You might think sleepless nights are all in your head. Your partially right.
Here are two of the major external triggers for insomnia.
Insomnia can be caused by its temporary cure: caffeine. The sleepier you are, the faster you'll reach for that instant jolt. The more times you reach, the harder it can become to get to sleep later.
Studies have shown that blue light can disrupt your sleep cycles. The light from your favourite things – phone, iPad, Kindle – may not be doing your sleep any favours.
Medical reasons that cause sleepless nights
Not everything that causes insomnia is as easy to fix as skipping Starbucks. If you think these may be keeping you up at night, a visit to your doctor could help.
Symptoms of depression can cause your mind to race with worry or anxiety. That can make your heart beat faster and faster. Neither are good, any time of day, and especially if you're trying to sleep.
Issues like back or neck pain can keep you up at night. Plus, conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome can add to your sleeplessness. Even if your pain isn't chronic, something as minor as a strained muscle can make you toss and turn.
So, how can I fix my sleepless nights?
Cut out caffeine
Limit your intake, and try to have the last cup before 2p.m. That way, your body has a chance to process the caffeine before bed.
Turn off that screen
Resist the urge to check your email just one more time before bed. Instead, read a book. If you have to keep your phone nearby, place it across the room. Not only can you better resist its charms, but it makes it harder to hit the snooze button.
Get into a routine
If you go to bed at different times every night, your body isn't sure when it's supposed to be sleepy. (And yes it knows: It's called your circadian clock.) Give it a helping hand and set a routine. Go to bed at around the same time, wake up at the same time.
That also goes for weekends. At least for awhile, keep the same schedule seven days a week. Once your sleepless nights are a thing of the past, you can be a little more flexible.
Here are some ways to manage shift work, if a routine is out of reach right now.
Ditch your PJs
You may be able to get to sleep, but you can't stay asleep. And once you're awake, you're awake for hours.
Why did you wake up? It might be because you’re clothed. There are plenty of reasons sleep naked. Give it a shot.
If you live in a particularly busy area, environmental noise might be keeping you up, like cars, barking dogs, and slamming doors. White, pink, or brown noise can help block that out.
Ever see a mom take their little one(s) to the park to "tire them out”? Same goes for you. Daily exercise can help ease you into sleep later. Just make sure you don't do it too late or it can have the opposite effect.
Essential oils have been used for centuries, to help a variety of things. From disinfecting cuts to helping insomnia, there's something for everyone. Try lavender oil or chamomile to promote sleep. Dab a little on your temples, or on a small cloth, to place under your pillow. You can use them in a warm bath, too.
Chamomile also makes a delicious herbal tea. A warm cup of tea might be just thing that helps soothe you before bed. Make sure it's herbal (no caffeine), and don't drink it too late. There's nothing worse than having to get up again!
How we can help
Your mattress also might be causing you sleepless nights. If it's worn out, or simply not the one for you, it might be time for a change. Try the Endy Mattress for 100 nights risk-free and see why we have over 10,000 reviews raving about us.