Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Table of contents
In many ways, your body is like a computer, capable of many vital functions. And like a computer, it needs to recharge for maximum performance.
Sleep is the mechanism by which the body recharges and readies itself for another day. But if you can’t sleep at night, you may find your body is lagging and your brain’s processing speed seriously diminished.
Fortunately, we’re here to explain why you may find sleep such a daunting task and how best to treat sleepless periods. All you need to do is sip a cup of relaxing tea, get cozy, and read on for ways to start counting sheep instead of restless minutes.
Most of us don’t think of sleep as an activity like swimming or baseball, but like all activities, it requires good habits and routines. After all, we know not to swim right after eating a meal, so why would we engage in harmful practices before entering sleep’s tranquil waters?
Most experts agree that sturdy routines build the foundations of sensational sleep. These routines include maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and limiting light exposure before bed. 
Conversely, poor sleep routines can cause your foundation to crumble before your dream house can even be built. These less-than-stellar sleep habits include: 
Luckily, perfecting your sleep habits and routines isn’t as hard as you might think. All it takes is some dedication and perseverance, and you may soon be well on your way to the Land of Nod.
If you’ve tried everything in the book, such as perfecting your sleep habits and counting sheep until the barnyard is empty, a sleep disorder could be to blame for your sleepless nights.
Sleep disorders are complex. While some may be rooted in bedtime habits, others may be genetic. Common sleep disorders include: 
If you think you might have a sleep disorder, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider. In most cases, your healthcare provider can prescribe a treatment plan.
That way, you can say goodbye to restless legs and hello to restful nights.
From homemade computers built in garages to the most advanced machines housed at global universities, most computers can slow down if they’re running too many programs. The same holds true for your neurobiology.
During periods of intense work and stress, your mind and body will likely work overtime to manage your obligations. When this happens, you may find it difficult to fall asleep, as your brain simply can’t shut down. 
Common stressors that can contribute to insomnolence include:
If you think you might have stress-induced sleeplessness, taking an at-home cortisol lab test that measures cortisol levels is an excellent first step. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.” Increased cortisol production can influence the “fight or flight” response, leading to wakefulness. 
Like sleep-related disorders, mental health disorders can be complex, stemming from several socioeconomic and genetic factors. To complicate matters, the link between mental health and sleeplessness appears to be a classic “chicken or the egg” question.
Do mental disorders contribute to sleeplessness or does sleeplessness exacerbate the risk of developing mental disorders? The answer seems to be yes and yes: sleeplessness can be a symptom of mental health disorders while mental health disorders can arise after periods of insomnia. 
Some of the most common sleep-related mental health disorders include: 
Mental health disorders are nothing to sleep on. If you think you might have a mental health disorder, it’s best to meet with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
As we age, new opportunities may open up. These opportunities can include spending time with grandchildren, traveling the world, and simply relaxing during our “golden years.” That said, aging can also tarnish the gold that is fantastic sleep.
In short, sleep quality tends to decrease as we age. After age 60, people are at a higher risk for developing insomnia and other sleep-related disorders.  While several factors may be to blame for this age-related sleep disruption, a melatonin deficiency may be the primary culprit. 
Also known as the “sleep hormone,” melatonin helps govern circadian rhythms. Without sufficient melatonin levels, our circadian rhythms become more erratic, leading to sleeplessness. Studies suggest that melatonin levels start to decline after age 40 and hit their lowest points after age 90. 
Fortunately, treatments exist to help us age gracefully and well-rested. These include:
With these treatments, you can get the sleep you deserve while experiencing life to the fullest after age 60.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “why can’t I sleep?” you’ve likely also asked, “how can I treat my insomnia or how to fix my sleep schedule?”
The good news is that there are several ways to treat sleepless periods. These methods include: 
Regardless of your treatment plan, the first step in treating insomnia is discovering the causes of your sleeplessness. An at-home lab sleep and stress test is a perfect way to measure the levels of vital sleep-related hormones, as well as receive an actionable treatment plan from a certified physician.
Periods of sleeplessness can be anything but dreamy. Fortunately, the Sleep & Stress Test from Everlywell can go a long way towards helping you rediscover comfortable, refreshing sleep.
In addition to measuring four sleep and stress-related hormones, our test uses CLIA-certified labs and physicians to analyze your results and provide you with a personalized action plan.
We say personalized because while your brain can function like a computer, you certainly aren’t. Instead, you’re a unique human being deserving of restful nights and exciting days.
You spend a third of your life sleeping. Let us help make it the best third possible.