Home / Blog September 13, 2023

6 min read

13 Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep Even When Tired (And What To Do)

Stress, caffeine, and bright screens might be the reason you’re wondering, “Why can’t I sleep at night even when I’m tired?”. But don’t worry, in this blog,  we don’t just explain why these sneaky culprits are stealing your ZzZs. We also provide solutions to help you get the restful sleep you crave, such as how to time your afternoon naps and caffeine intake.

lady cuddler with bearaby blanket


Anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders may be the reasons why you are tired but can’t sleep.

Some lifestyle choices like when to nap or take caffeine can also be behind your tossing and turning.

Weighted blankets are excellent companions on nights when you can’t sleep because they promote the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. 

Did you know?
If you’re having trouble falling asleep after 20 minutes of being in bed, it is best to get out of bed.

Feeling tired but struggling to fall asleep? Drowsy but still counting sheep? You're not alone. We understand the frustration of tossing and turning and wondering, “Why can't I sleep at night even though I’m tired?" The struggle is real, and it can be caused by a multitude of sneaky factors.

Stress, anxiety, late-night caffeine jolts, the allure of digital screens, and post-exercise restlessness are just a few of the sleep disruptors lurking in the shadows. But fear not, because we're here to shed light on these mysteries and offer you practical tips to reclaim your nights of rejuvenating sleep.

Why You Feel So Tired But Can't Sleep

Feeling tired usually makes it easier to fall asleep, right? Well, that is not always the case. When you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, there might be 3 different culprits stealing your ZzZs: lifestyle factors, mental-health challenges, or physical conditions.

women wrapped with bearaby green napper

Lifestyle Factors:

These are activities that you do during the day or on a daily basis that make it harder for your body to ease into natural sleep at night. The good news is that with some adjustment, most of these factors can be dealt with easily to help you count less sheep when you’re laying in bed:

1. Napping: While excellent for recharging during the day, long naps or napping too close to your bedtime can cause issues with falling asleep later on. This is because napping too close to the evening hours can interfere with your body’s rhythm of producing your sleep hormone, melatonin.

Therefore, to avoid this interference, you may want to go for shorter naps, around 20 - 30 minutes, and make it a point to doze off ideally between 12 PM and 3 PM. Also, consider sticking to the same nap time every day; it helps your body know what to expect.

2. Heightened arousal: Exercising late in the evening can keep your heart racing and your mind wide awake, making it tough to find that elusive slumber. It's like your body's in “alert” mode when it should be in “sleep” mode.

Because of this, you may want to steer clear of intense exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. This gives your body the chance to cool down, literally and figuratively. Also, consider making room for calming bedtime rituals, like the gentle flicker of candles or the soothing scents of aromatherapy.

3. Caffeine: Just like afternoon naps, caffeine can turn into a nighttime adversary if not taken cautiously. Caffeine late in the day can leave you tired yet restless when bedtime arrives.

To avoid this, set a clear caffeine cutoff, ideally by 2 PM, or no later than 3 PM. This timing allows your body enough hours to process and clear the caffeine from your system before you aim for slumber. So, savor your caffeine doses, but do so mindfully to ensure a more tranquil night's rest.

4. Alcohol: A report from the National Institute of Health (NIH) shows that while alcohol may initially induce drowsiness, it can disrupt your sleep patterns, resulting in lighter and less restful slumber.

To ensure a better night's rest, it's advisable to abstain from alcohol at least 4 hours before bedtime. This allows your body ample time to metabolize it properly, thus promoting deeper and more restorative sleep. Adjusting your alcohol consumption routine can create a more conducive environment for quality sleep, fostering uninterrupted rest and overall well-being.

5. Screentime:The blue light emitted by phones, laptops, and tablets can throw a wrench into your sleep-wake cycle by suppressing melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate it. So, if you've been glued to screens right up to bedtime, it can become challenging to fall asleep easily.

To address this, consider carving out a screen-free period of at least 2 hours before bedtime. This simple adjustment allows your body to naturally prepare for sleep, making it easier to drift off into a peaceful slumber. Remember, small changes in your screen habits can lead to significant improvements in your sleep quality and overall well-being.

6. Diet: Some foods, especially those high in spice, fat, and protein, can slow down digestion, leading to discomfort and indigestion that interferes with falling asleep. To enhance your sleep, consider selecting soothing, easily digestible evening snacks such as nuts, kiwis, and mushrooms.

These options not only go easy on your stomach but also foster the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. By incorporating these dietary adjustments, you can better prepare your body for sleep and enjoy more restful nights.

Mental Health Challenges:

Given the up-and-down nature of our lives, mental health challenges pop up here and there. And when dealing with them, our bodies may become so tensed up that while we are physically tired, our brains have a slightly harder time to loosen up for sleep.

Luckily, with the right support, these challenges can be dealt with, ensuring that we are able to rest deeply as our mental health recovers.

7. Anxiety & Stress: We all face moments when the worries of the past, present, or future keep us awake, tossing and turning in bed. This can happen even when our bodies are physically exhausted but cannot relax into sleep.

One solution that can make a real difference in this case is using a knitted weighted blanket, like our Cotton Napper. Our Nappers’ evenly-distributed weight promotes the reduction of cortisol, the stress hormone. It's like having a trusted friend by your side, ready to offer comfort when you need it most.

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8. Insomnia & Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, along with other sleep disorders like narcolepsy and sleep apnea, can turn falling asleep into an elusive goal, even when you're utterly exhausted. These conditions can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling frustrated and fatigued.

To tackle these issues effectively, it's crucial to consult with a medical specialist who can assess the precise cause of the insomnia or sleep disorder. They may recommend treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tailored to your specific needs. These therapeutic approaches can help address the root causes of your sleep disruptions and guide you toward more restful nights.

9. Depression: Even when tired, depression can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. This is because when people are depressed, there is a high likelihood of them having more cortisol in their system.

Research has shown that weighted blankets can help in fighting depression because they provide gentle pressure, which creates a sense of calm and relaxation that's like a soothing balm for your soul. It's not a magic cure, but it can potentially help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of your sleep.

bearaby pink weighted blanket on couch with lady

Physical Factors:

Even with sustained mental health and appropriate lifestyle changes, our bodies remain sensitive to certain elements of our physical environment. Moreover, there are also real biological events in our bodies that can affect our ability to sleep at night even when tired.

10. Uncomfortability: Whether it's the room temperature or lighting that's causing your unease, addressing these issues can greatly improve your sleep. For instance, If the room is too hot, too cold, or too bright, it can make falling asleep challenging.

With this, the recommended sleep temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, as this range tends to be most conducive to restful slumber. Additionally, ensuring your sleeping space is dark and quiet can further enhance your comfort and help you drift into peaceful sleep. Incorporating relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, before bedtime can also reduce discomfort and stress, making it easier for you to fall asleep.

11. Hormonal changes: Hormonal imbalances, such as during periods or menopause for women, can turn your nights into sleepless struggles, even when you're feeling tired. If sleep disturbances arise due to hormonal shifts, seeking medical guidance is highly advisable.

A healthcare professional can offer personalized advice and potential solutions to address these specific hormonal issues and restore your ability to enjoy restful sleep. Understanding the role of hormones in your sleep patterns and seeking appropriate guidance can be a crucial step toward achieving better sleep quality and overall well-being.

12. Circadian rhythm disorders: Circadian rhythm disorders can throw a wrench into your sleep-wake cycles, making it difficult to fall asleep, especially for those who work night shifts. The disruption in your body's internal clock can leave you feeling perpetually tired but unable to sleep when you need to.

To address this challenge effectively, it's essential to pinpoint the source of the disorder. We highly recommend seeking the expertise of a sleep specialist who can evaluate your specific situation and provide tailored recommendations. These experts can offer insights and strategies to realign your circadian rhythm and restore a more natural sleep pattern.

13. Medical Conditions: Ever heard of Coronasomnia? Coronasomnia, often associated with the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic, has affected many individuals' ability to sleep even when tired. Moreover, medications containing stimulants like caffeine can exacerbate sleep issues.

To address these challenges, it's crucial to prioritize self-care and seek the right sleeping guidelines for your specific condition.If you're struggling with sleep due to a medical condition, consulting with a healthcare provider or specialist is highly advisable. They can offer tailored guidance and potential treatments to alleviate your sleep disruptions.


Lifestyle factors such as caffeine and alcohol intake can be the reasons behind your wondering, “Why can’t I sleep at night even when I’m tired”. Mental health challenges like anxiety, stress, and depression can also be behind your tossing and turning. Lastly, physical challenges like COVID-19 and other medical conditions may also interrupt your precious nightly slumber.

Making simple lifestyle changes may be helpful in addressing factors like caffeine intake or your afternoon napping schedule. Asking for medical help is always advisable in cases of both physical and mental health challenges. While you seek ways to coax your body into relaxing for your nightly slumber, consider having a weighted blanket with you. Our Cotton Napper, for instance, has even weight distribution which supports the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.