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Why Am I Tired But Can't Sleep?

Why Am I Tired But Can't Sleep?

Written By: Emily Spring

You’re at the end of the long day, and the lasting energy from your morning mushroom supplement is waning off. You’ve been fantasizing about bedtime since dinner, diligently completing your evening tasks and anxiously awaiting the moment you can slip beneath the covers, rest your head on the pillow, and collapse into a cozy cocoon.

But when the long-awaited hour finally arrives, you find that you just can’t fall asleep—and no amount of sheep can deliver you to a restful state.

What’s coming between you and sleep? In some cases, the answer could be as simple as eating the wrong foods or inconsistencies in your sleep schedule—in which case, regaining blissful nights in Dreamland is well within your grasp. In other cases, impaired sleep could result from poor sleep hygiene, mood disorders, or other health issues.

Wondering why you’re tired but can’t sleep? Keep reading for potential issues and possible solutions to jumpstart your snooze.

#1 Your Circadian Rhythm is Off

If you feel tired but can’t sleep, your circadian rhythm may be disrupted.

What is a circadian rhythm? Your circadian rhythm refers to 24-hour time periods during which your body performs several important functions and processes, from producing digestive proteins in synchrony with your eating habits to releasing energy-boosting hormones when you need them most.1

Your sleep schedule, known as a sleep-wake cycle, is perhaps the most well-known of all the cycles that are influenced by your circadian rhythm. This cycle is linked to your “master clock,” an internal barometer that reads environmental cues to know when various bodily processes need to occur.

The master clock is located in the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).1 It’s highly sensitive to light, which is why so many of the functions it regulates are synchronized according to a day-to-night schedule. It’s also the reason we’re naturally inclined to sleep at night and be active during the day.

Although it can be crucial to a good night’s sleep, your circadian rhythm isn’t difficult to disrupt. Common situations that can complicate your sleep-wake cycle include:

  • Jet lag
  • Overnight shifts
  • Clinical sleep disorders

If disruptions to your circadian rhythm are nonclinical, you may be able to get your internal clock back on track relatively easily. Spending time in the sun, getting exercise, and avoiding caffeinated beverages are all things you can do to reset your clock and find your rhythm.

Discover the power of Reishi mushrooms. Shop now!

#2 You’re Napping During the Day

If you’re asking yourself, why am i so tired but can’t sleep at night, it’s worth considering how much sleep you’re sneaking in during the day.

Afternoon fatigue and daytime drowsiness can affect us all, and catching a few Z’s at your desk isn’t just understandable, it’s normal. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 34% of American adults admit to napping during the day.2

But those innocent, restorative cat naps could be making it difficult for you to fall asleep at the end of the day. If you feel tired, try some alternatives to napping to re-energize yourself, such as:3

  • Eating a healthy, energizing snack
  • Brightening the lights 
  • Alternating work tasks

If you can’t fully eliminate naps from your schedule, try to fit them in earlier in the day, before mid-afternoon, and keep them short and sweet.

#3 Your Mood is Keeping You Up

Wondering, “why am i tired but can't sleep?” Disturbances to your mood can affect your sleep patterns.

There are a variety of mood disorders that can easily become sleep disorders. But some of the strongest links between sleep and mental health have been observed with conditions like:

  • Anxiety – Symptoms of anxiety worsen when you’re laying in bed with nothing to focus on but your thoughts, which can keep you up throughout the night.4
  • Depression – There’s a strong link between depression and sleep disorders like insomnia.5 In some cases, not getting enough sleep can lead to feelings of depression, while in others, depression can cause or exacerbate insomnia symptoms. 
  • Stress – When you experience stress, your body ups its production of the hormone cortisol, which gives you a boost of energy. That extra pep is a good thing when a situation means you need to think on your toes. However, when you're laying down to sleep, stress can keep you up at night.6


If you think your mental health is interfering with your sleep, talk with your healthcare provider. They’ll discuss your symptoms, review your options, and work with you to get to the bottom of your sleep issues.

#4 Your Diet is Disruptive 

Although the precise relationship between your sleep schedule and your diet is still something of a mystery, it’s no secret that what you eat and drink can affect how long and how well you sleep. Inversely, sleep deprivation can lead to higher calorie-intake. If you’re often tired but can’t sleep, consider examining your eating habits.

You probably already know that caffeine is a huge impediment to sleeping well. But you should also avoid fast food, sugary foods, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages before bedtime.7

Food and drinks that are believed to promote better sleep include:8

  • Cherry juice
  • Kiwis
  • Malted milk
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Tart cherry juice

When you’re reshaping your diet to fit your sleep schedule, don’t overlook the power of mushrooms to improve your sleep. Packed with calming, sleep-positive reishi mushrooms, Plant People’s NightLight Cacao Mix is a delicious way to calm your mind, improve your mood, and prime your body for sleep. 

#5 You’re Overdosing On Screen Time

These days, it’s all but impossible to avoid looking at one screen or another. If you’re not staring into your work computer, you’re gazing into your phone or watching TV. Worse, many of us bring our mobile devices into bed with us.

The bright lights of cell phones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs might be great for scrolling social media, watching funny cat videos, or catching up on the latest hour-long drama, but they play tricks on your SCN that keep it from producing the melatonin you need to fall asleep when you need it.9

Not only does this keep you from falling asleep, it can make what sleep you do get less restful. Additionally, screen time can:10

  • Prevent your mind from relaxing
  • Elicit emotional responses that may make it more difficult to fall asleep

To get to sleep faster and have better sleep quality, consider kissing your favorite screens goodnight an hour or two before you go to bed.

#6 You Have a Clinical Sleep Disorder

Tried but can’t sleep? There might be an underlying condition for your sleep problem. You may be among the roughly 70 million Americans with a clinical sleep disorder.11 Aptly named, sleep disorders can seriously disrupt your sleep schedule, leading to daytime fatigue and a host of medical issues that can come from lack of sleep.

There are several clinical conditions that can come between you and a good night’s sleep. Among the most common are:

  • Insomnia – Around 40% of Americans report suffering from either acute insomnia or chronic insomnia.11 When you have insomnia, you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting back to sleep once you’ve woken up.12 Insomnia can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Parasomnias – This refers to a range of abnormal sleep behaviors like sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep terrors, and rapid eye movement disorder, among others.12 
  • Restless leg syndrome – One of several neurological movement disorders, restless leg syndrome (RLS) refers to the feeling that one needs to move their legs.12 Sensory symptoms can include tingling, burning, aches, and the feeling that tiny critters are crawling up and down your legs.
  • Sleep apnea – While snoring is more likely to keep your partner up at night than you, in severe cases, it could progress to sleep apnea, a condition that disrupts breathing during sleep. When you snore, your throat closes up, temporarily blocking your airflow. If you have sleep apnea, airflow can be blocked for up to 10 seconds or more. That’s just enough time for your body’s survival instincts to kick in, jolting you awake so that you can catch your breath.12
  • All sleep disorders must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional and many of them are treatable with therapy, medications, or other methods. Speak with your healthcare provider if you’re tired but can’t sleep and think a clinical sleep disorder is to blame.

    Sleep Better With Plant People 

    Want to learn how to get better deep sleep? Many factors can disrupt your sleep cycle. Fortunately, you can make numerous lifestyle changes to support your sleep cycle, from limiting your screen time to revamping your diet—Plant People can help with the latter.

    At Plant People, we’re firm believers in harnessing the power of nature to improve health and wellness. We combine holistic science with regenerative practice to craft quality, all-natural, doctor-formulated plant and mushroom supplements to help you live and sleep better.

    Shop our full line of sleep supplements, which include sleep drops, CBD capsules, and our Night Light Mushroom Cacao Mix, so you can sleep better tonight and feel your best tomorrow. 


    Written by Emily Spring 

    Emily Spring is the Director of Marketing at Plant People. A longtime proponent of balanced living, she has enjoyed over 8 years driving growth in the lifestyle, health and wellness sectors with deep experience in functional solutions for optimizing anyone's everyday life.


    Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy

     Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.

     Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.



    1. Sleep Foundation. What Is Circadian Rhythm?
    2. Pew Research Center. Nap Time.
    3. Penn State University. Napping Alternatives.
    4. Cleveland Clinic. How to Calm Your Anxiety at Night.
    5. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Depression and Sleep: Understanding the Connection.
    6. Sleep Foundation. How Does Stress Affect Sleep?
    7. Healthline. 6 Foods That Keep You Awake At Night.
    8. Sleep Foundation. The Best Foods To Help You Sleep.
    9. Sleep Foundation. How Screen Time May Cause Insomnia in Teens.
    10. Cleveland Clinic. 3 Reasons to Ditch Your Phone Before Bed.
    11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Sleep Disorders.
    12. VeryWell Health. Sleep Disorders: Types and Treatments. 

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