Doctor explains frustrating reason you stop feeling sleepy moment you get into bed

By Staff 6 Min Read

Rosey Davidson, a sleep consultant at Just Chill Baby Sleep, claims that anxiety, stress and something called ‘learned arousal’ may be keeping you awake at night

Have you ever headed to bed after dozing off on the sofa, to find yourself completely wide awake again? A sleep expert has unveiled what may be behind this frustrating phenomenon and what you can do to rid of it for good.

Rosey Davidson, a sleep consultant at Just Chill Baby Sleep, claims that anxiety, stress and something called ‘learned arousal’ may be behind it all, with the latter referring to a mind pattern we’re often completely unaware of. She told The Mirror: “Learned arousal refers to a conditioned response that interferes with sleep onset – falling asleep.

“It occurs when we associate our beds with activities other than sleep, like watching TV or scrolling on a phone or tablet. Over time, the brain forms an association between the bed and wakefulness rather than relaxation, making it harder to fall asleep.”

As a result of this, Rosey stresses that bedrooms should be used for ‘sleep or sex only’. The phenomenon can also be worsened further if you have an irregular routine – whether it be falling asleep at different times each day, or eating meals at random hours.

“If our sleep patterns are irregular and our body’s natural rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to difficulty falling asleep despite feeling fatigued,” she continued. “Worrying about sleep [also] creates a paradoxical cycle wherein anxiety about falling asleep increases alertness, making it harder to relax. We then become more anxious and alert, making it even harder to sleep.”

To put a stop to this exhausting cycle, Rosey recommends creating a more clear-cut daily schedule while avoiding caffeinated drinks, phone screens and sugary foods late at night. And, if you find yourself wide awake in bed, make sure to do something to calm you down.

This could include drinking herbal tea, reading a book or even practising some meditation before hitting the pillow again. “The best way to combat this and improve sleep is a holistic approach,” the sleep consultant continued.

“Establishing a regular wake-sleep cycle – getting up at the same time each morning, and going to bed at a similar time each night will help your body to know when to fall asleep – exposure to natural light in the mornings can help your body be ready for sleep at night. You can see it as getting your order in for sleep with your body!

“Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation can also help calm the mind and body before sleep. [But] if lack of sleep is affecting your health you should reach out to a medical professional.”

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