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Why You’re Tossing and Turning All Night (and How to Stop)

How do you stop tossing and turning? As experts on improving sleep quality, we’ve put together an article with all your answers.

Written by Sarah Hill
July 27th, 2022

Is there anything more irritating than tossing and turning all night, failing to earn a good night’s sleep? 

 

It’s an experience that many people can relate to. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleeping problems affect around 70 million Americans. 

 

But what’s the reason behind this phenomenon? How can you stop it?


As experts in the realm of improving sleep quality, our team at Healium has put together an article with all your answers. 

 

Causes of Tossing and Turning All Night and Difficulty Sleeping

Endless tossing and turning can be the result of many different factors. Some of these reasons include lifestyle habits, mental conditions, environmental factors, or medical issues

 

The first step toward getting a goodnight’s sleep is knowing and understanding which of those factors may be causing your sleeping difficulty. Once you’ve understood the reason behind the tossing and turning, it will be easier for you to determine the ultimate solution to get the sleep you need.

 

Here are some reasons why you’re tossing and turning all night:

 

Graphic of Man Stressed Out

1. Stress

According to Medical News Today, one of the most prevalent reasons for sleeping problems is stress.

 

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors and for different reasons ranging from work, school, relationships, and other troubles in your personal life. Instead of peacefully drifting off, your mind is preoccupied with the things that stress you out.

 

Stress might be affecting you even if you’re not aware of it, meaning your body can still experience the physical impacts.

 

Stiff, tense muscles make sleeping difficult and causes discomfort, which in turn leads to you tossing and turning in an attempt to find a comfortable sleeping position.  

 

Woman with Anxiety Graphic

2. Feeling Worried or Anxious

The state of your mind is another important factor to consider. While it’s natural to feel anxious toward  work, school, or the future  worries like these  make it difficult to fall asleep.

 

Your body, in an attempt to soothe your mind, shifts around trying to find a comfortable position. However, movement triggers the alertness of the brain, , which  makes falling (and staying) asleep increasingly more difficult. 

 

Blue Light Graphic

3. Excessive Blue Light Stimulation

Too much blue light stimulation before bedtime also contributes to sleep issues.

 

Blue light is a type of short wavelength light that increases attentiveness and brain function.

 

 

 

Examples of blue light stimulation before bedtime include:

– Watching TV

– Playing video games

– Spending too much time on electronic devices

 

As a result of blue light stimulation, your mind stays active and alert. It will make you much more sensitive to simple noises, sudden movements, and bright lights from inside and outside your room, leading you to toss and turn all night. 

 

Woman drinking coffee

4. Too Much Caffeine Consumption

Coffee is a staple in most morning routines; however, too much caffeine is a leading cause of insomnia and keeps you tossing and turning all night.

 

During waking hours, the brain produces adenosine, a sleep-promoting neurotransmitter. The longer you’re awake, the more adenosine accumulates in the brain. The more it accumulates, the sleepier we become. 

 

However, caffeine blocks your adenosine receptors, prohibiting the adenosine buildup your brain needs to make you tired. While there’s a time and a place for caffeine, if you’re having trouble sleeping, cutting down on your consumption will always be an effective strategy. 

 

Woman with poor sleep schedule

5. Poor Sleep Schedule

The body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, closely follows daily patterns of day and night. 

However, many people have unique sleep schedules that throw their internal clock out of sync with this natural daily pattern. 

 

Deviation from your natural circadian rhythm can also be caused by jet lag from frequent travel, constant work schedule changes, a hectic daily routine, an inconsistent bedtime, or other factors.

 

Attempting to sleep when your body is not tired enough or when it is not ready to fall asleep is an example of a poor sleeping schedule. 

 

If you don’t get enough sleep at the right time, your body will feel uneasy, forcing you to toss and turn all night.

 

Restless Leg Syndrome Graphic

6. Health Conditions

Various health conditions may be contributing to you tossing and turning all night. For example, you may experience trouble falling asleep because of a medical condition called restless legs syndrome

 

RLS is a common condition that causes an uncontrollable need to move one’s legs, usually in response to an unpleasant sensation, most frequently when you’re seated or lying down. 

 

Sleep apnea is another ailment that  induces tossing and turning at night. This health condition causes your breathing to stop while sleeping, causing you to wake up frequently.

 

How to Stop Tossing and Turning All Night

 

 

After narrowing down the causes of your tossing and turning, you can begin to address the issue and take steps towards improving your sleep. 

 

Here are some of our favorite ways to stop all that tossing and turning:

 

Maintain a Regular Sleep Routine

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is a good place to begin when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. 

 

Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time in the morning to regulate your body’s internal clock. After a period of time, your body will adjust to the consistency and you will find it easier to fall asleep at your regular time. 


What time should you be heading to bed? 

 

Research suggests that 10 p.m. is the most ideal time to schedule your sleep around, but it’s more important to prioritize consistency and routine over any specific time. 

 

If you find it easier to consistently head to bed earlier or later than 10 pm, go that route instead! The key is to let your body fall into a regular, predictable pattern so that your brain has an easier time shutting down for the night. 

 

Stay Away From Electronics 1 Hour Before BedTime

Grant your mind and body the space to prepare for sleep by turning off your technology about an hour before bedtime.

Any form of light hampers your production of melatonin, meaning you’ll have a harder time drifting off to sleep, but this rule especially applies to screens that emit blue light. Blue wavelengths of light actually increase your attention and reaction times, which is especially disruptive when you’re laying down to sleep. 

 

Our suggestion? Read a relaxing book, perform sleep meditation, or listen to sleep-inducing music. 

 

Eliminate Caffeine Towards the End of the Day

Limit your intake of caffeine to avoid blocking your adenosone production. After 3 PM, try staying away from coffee, soft drinks, and energy drinks. This allows your body to produce essential sleep hormones and helps you fall asleep more easily. 

 

Make a Comfortable Bed

Looking at the effectivenes of your sleep arrangements extends beyond your sleep schedule or caffeine intake. Many people forget to actually look at the bed they sleep on!

 

Invest in a comfortable, high-quality mattress, pillow, and comforter. Prioritizing your comfort oftentimes contributes to a longer, more restful night’s sleep.

 

Train Your Brain to Fall Asleep Through Meditation

Woman meditating in bed

 

Did you know that meditation can actually contribute to more restful sleep?

 

Sleep Meditation lowers your stress and anxiety levels, stops your restlessness, and eliminates tossing and turning all night.

 

Virtual reality (VR) makes meditation more effective because the brain believes what it sees. VR meditation immerses you deeper into meditative experiences by blocking out all distractions and providing something for your mind to focus on. 

 

Sleepium is a Virtual Reality sleep meditation app that helps you manage your anxiety and fall asleep more easily. 

 

You can train with an EEG headband that analyzes brainwave data and view the same immersive content on your VR headset. Regular practice helps establish an associative or stored memory that you can refer to whenever you need to relax and calm down. 

 

Virtual Reality meditation will make you feel more calm, remove any anxieties, worries, and stress, and allowing you to have the best sleep you’ve ever had.

 

About the Author

Sarah Hill is the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically-powered VR/AR immersive media channel controlled by the user's brainwaves and heart rate via consumer wearables.

Learn more about her here.

Written by Sarah Hill
July 27th, 2022
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