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Tired but Can’t Sleep –  Causes, Symptoms & Solutions

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Update: December 7, 2022
4 min read
tired but cant sleep

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You are yawning uncontrollably and struggling to keep your eyes open. All you can think of is your bed and the cozy blanket. But when the time finally comes and you climb into bed, sleep is nowhere to be found, and you find yourself wide awake. Frustrating, isn’t it? 

Ideally, in a situation like this, you expect sleep to arrive within seconds. But why are you tired but can’t sleep? Well, read all about it here!

Why am I tired during the day?

Before you try to rectify your sleep cycle, it is important to understand all the reasons that could promote tiredness and sleeplessness. 

Stress and anxiety

When your mind is battling stress or anxiety, it becomes difficult to fall asleep. In fact, sleep disruptions are a symptom of anxiety disorder, which is one of the reasons why people suffer from insomnia. Here, you can try to use relaxation techniques to calm yourself. But if you feel highly anxious even after trying everything, it is always best to speak with your doctor.

Hormonal imbalances

One possible culprit that may be disrupting your sleep can be your hormones. So, when the hormone levels go up or down in cases such as the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, some women may experience sleep problems. So, if you are wondering why you are tired but can’t sleep early in pregnancy, well, this is why!


Tired but can’t sleep at night? Caffeine could be the reason why. Now, caffeine can stay in your body for up to 10 hours and consuming even 200 milligrams of caffeine can hamper your sleep. In fact, research shows that relishing your favourite cuppa about 6 hours before bedtime could hamper your sleep quality. 

Electronic devices

Almost all of us love our smartphones. There we said it! Browsing through reels on Instagram or even crafty YouTube videos seems a great way to pass the time before bed. But unfortunately, the blue light emitted from the screens can hinder your sleep quality, so staying away from your devices at least 2 hours before bedtime is important. Therefore, if you are tired but can’t sleep, period. And for no apparent reason, this can be it!


Insomnia is when you cannot get sleep or experience reduced sleep quality. So, if you are experiencing recurrent sleeplessness, you must speak with a doctor. 


Tired but can’t sleep? Covid can be one of the symptoms why you are facing difficulty falling asleep. It can occur as an autoimmune response or due to stress associated with the condition. As per a study conducted in 2021, it was seen that approximately 5% of 2,36,379 people experienced insomnia as a result of COVID. 

Circadian rhythm disorders

The circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock regulating your sleep-wake cycle. It uses dark and light to produce melatonin, aid body temperature, and sleep. Now, this little clock is present in the brain and is known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This part produces melatonin, a sleep hormone that helps you enjoy quality slumber. So, if you cannot fall asleep even when tired, your circadian rhythm may be off, which could also be a sign of delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). DSPS is a condition where you can only sleep almost 2 hours or later than normal.

Difference between Tired vs Sleepy

We use the words tired and sleepy interchangeably, but they are almost entirely different. Feeling tired is when you are extremely low on energy, which leads to a strong desire to enjoy a restful slumber. Now, the urge to fall asleep occurs at night or as per your sleep schedule. The sleep hormones, circadian rhythms, and various other factors come into play here. Sleep is essential for your overall well-being

Should I stay up all night if I can’t sleep?

If you cannot sleep, try techniques that may help because a good night’s rest is vital. It aids healthy brain function and physical health. However, if you cannot fall asleep despite trying everything, you can get out of bed and try again in some time. But if this becomes an ongoing issue, speak with your doctor.

How to fall asleep

Some simple tips to help you fall asleep include;

  • Opt for a cool room temperature
  • You can make use of breathing exercises, such as the 4-7-8 method 
  • Make sure you follow a consistent bedtime routine
  • Avoid long daytime naps
  • Listen to relaxing and soothing music
  • Try aromatherapy
  • Practice journaling before bedtime
  • Visualize things that fill you with happiness and also calm you down
  • Try supplements after consulting with your doctor

Is it bad to be tired?

Feeling tired once in a while is common. But when exhaustion becomes a continuous thing, it is not normal. Therefore, if you have had unexplained tiredness for a long time, speak with your doctor today.

The situation can be quite frustrating when you are tired but unable to sleep. The first thing you can do is figure out the reason why and then move ahead from there. But when it becomes a long-term problem, it is important to opt for medical intervention.


What to do if you can’t get to sleep?

If you cannot get sleep, you can try some of the tips mentioned above in the blog, such as journaling, listening to soothing music, breathing exercises, and more.

What can I drink to fall asleep fast?

Some drinks to help you fall asleep are warm milk, herbal tea, turmeric milk, and almond milk.

I Can’t sleep, should I just stay up all night?

No, you can try a few relaxation techniques or sleep tips mentioned above. However, if you are still unable to sleep, you can get out of bed and try again in some time. But if this becomes an everyday issue, you must speak with your doctor.


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