In this article you will uncover the number one reason you can’t fall asleep. Additionally, I will share a few more common reasons you may experience insomnia. And at the end of this article you will find a sleep meditation that has been listened to more than a million times.
In this article
- Podcast: on this same subject!
- Why can’t I fall asleep?
- Feeling safe and comfortable to sleep
- So why do we struggle to fall asleep?
- Why sleep is a skill
- How to go to sleep quickly
- Preparing for a good night sleep
- Tips and tricks to fall asleep more quickly
- Perfect affirmations for falling to sleep
- The Log Cabin: Deep Sleep Meditation
If you are here because you cannot sleep and you just want to go to sleep, scroll to the bottom of the article for my sleep meditation.
And as a bonus, there is also my brand-new sleep story meditation: The Log Cabin: Deep Sleep Meditation.
If you don’t feel like reading, listening to this podcast on the same subject.
Why can’t I fall asleep?
If the body’s job is to survive, then the job of the mind, or subconscious mind, is to protect. If the mind is made aware of a threat, worry, or anything to be anxious about, it will do everything possible to keep you awake.
I remember as a child, after being sent to bed, I would creep my way down the stairs and anxiously open the living room door to say to my parents that I could not go to sleep. Their answers were always massively productive, and their words of wisdom always helped.
I’m joking, they would send me straight back to bed raising their voices as they reprimanded me, telling me to go sleep.
But how could I?
Now frightened and wound up because I had just been shouted at, of course I could not fall asleep. But, I did not say that. Instead, I would go to bed, heart pounding, and hide under the covers, pretending to be asleep until eventually, I finally did fall asleep.
“Don’t fight with the pillow, but lay down your head, and kick every worriment out of the bed.”
Although this is my story, I think it is quite typical for most of us. It is not our parent’s fault, the simple truth is that we are not taught how to go to sleep, and because of that reason most of us go to bed just hoping that our bodies eventually obey.
However, would you go to sleep if you thought there was an external threat?
Although there are so many reasons why you may not be able to fall asleep, without doubt the main reason is that you likely don’t feel safe, secure, and comfortable.
Feeling safe and comfortable to sleep
What do I mean by not feeling safe and comfortable?
For virtually all of human evolution, we have slept in the open air or in caves, and considering the amount of threats present in those situations, you can understand why we have evolved not to fall asleep if there are any dangers lurking.
Today, the threats we face are quite different. We live in considerably safer houses. We have locks on the doors, as well as a bedroom very often of our own.
From a physical sense, we live in a safe, secure, and comfortable place. Especially when going to sleep in our nice, comfortable, and warm beds.
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
So why do we struggle to fall asleep?
Perhaps because, those external threats have been replaced with worries and anxieties. These voices of stress are a constant in our minds, and thus prohibit us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.
Our minds have become so busy with remembering birthdays, thinking about our jobs, social media, emails, and running the house, that it is very difficult for us to turn that internal volume down, or off. Furthermore, many of us are parents who must not only think about ourselves, but also our children and all aspects of their lives.
Simply put, we have not evolved to fall asleep with this much going on.
Our minds are a lot more active, and our bodies less active, than our ancestors who faced different daily worries and threats.
We spend so much energy now on thinking and very little on physical exercise, so the body is not moved enough but the mind is exhausted.
When our minds are racing, we attempt to think them into stopping. That is like emptying a swimming pool by pouring buckets of water into it.
Sleep is a skill
Probably the most important thing you can do for your health, your mental wellness, and overall happiness, is to get a good night’s sleep. Yet, how can we if we never learn to sleep properly.
The secret to learning how to go to sleep, is recognizing that it is a skill that requires practice and preparation.
Navy SEALs cannot rely on getting 8 hours of sleep every night, so they must be able to grab sleep when they can. That means going to sleep even if they are not tired, and sometimes, in situations that are not secure, safe, or comfortable. However, they learn this skill out of necessity, and very often, they can be asleep within only a couple of minutes.
How to go to sleep quickly
There are two parts to getting getting a good night sleep.
- Preparing for a good night sleep.
- Going to sleep.
You have to create the environment within, and externally so that your mind and body both feel completely relaxed, comfortable, and safe.
Preparing for a good night sleep
- Reduce the temperature of your room.
- Remove any LEDs or lights in the room.
- Put a notepad and pencil next to the bed, you can use this to write down anything that seems to be on your mind (best not to use your phone).
- Stay away from your mobile, tablet or TV.
- Do not drink coffee or any other stimulant
- Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help you sleep; it prevents you from going into the deep sleep that your body needs to repair the alcohol poisoning, and thus prevents your body from being able to heal daily wear.
- Go to bed when you are ready for sleep, do not use the bed for chilling out! The exception being acts of intimacy, this can be a great way to aid insomnia.
- Prepare a few things for the morning, like your clothes and anything you need to take with you to work. This will give you less to think about as you fall asleep.
Here are a couple of great links to expand on the list that will help you to prepare for a great night sleep. Preparing Your Bedroom for a Great Night’s Sleep and 4 ways to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep, according to sleep scientists.
Tips and tricks to help you fall asleep more quickly
TIP: If your brain normally races the moment you hit the pillow, then move the brainstorming to earlier in the evening. Grab a notepad and write down everything that is on your mind. Your mind thinks it has been dealt with, therefore should not prohibit your sleep.
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid. Your sleep will be sweet.”
Below is a simple meditation body-scan that may help you relax your body through the practice of mindfulness.
- Tip 1: Tense your muscles and then release. Starting with your toes, then your feet working up your body until eventually doing every muscle including your face. (Both of my meditations talk you through this technique)
- Tip 2: Do 10 mindful breaths, breathing in normally and breathing out slowly. Taking notice of every part of the breath, how it feels, how it’s affecting the body how the body is relaxing and quietening in the mind automatically.
- Tip 3: Cycle through a couple sleep affirmations in your mind feeling them in your body that suggest you are comfortable and safe.
- Tip 4: Count back from 300 in multiples of 3 (7 if 3 too easy for you). If you lose count, start again challenge your mind to get to 0.
Perfect affirmations for falling to sleep
I am safe and falling to sleep.
I am relaxed and falling to sleep.
I am comfortable and falling to sleep.
I would recommend doing the tips above one after the other, there is a high chance you will fall asleep going through the affirmations.
Hopefully, I have gone some way to answering your question ‘Why can’t I fall asleep?’
Finally, after all of that if you still cannot get to sleep, you can always use one of my two meditations below. You do not need headphones, simply begin the meditation on your phone then turn off the screen.
The Log Cabin: Deep Sleep Meditation
Also, as a super bonus and your convenience here is my original Deep Sleep Meditation that has managed to achieve more than a million good night sleep. How awesome is that. Yes, I’m very proud of this meditation.
Let me know in the comments if anything in this article was helpful, and what was helpful about it.