Nightly Yoga StretchesWhy do so many of us feel exhausted but can't fall asleep? There can be many emotional and physical reasons causing sleeplessness. The underlying cause(s) will determine the treatment method used and hopefully cure or lessen the reason why you can't fall asleep. Underlying causes can include a change in diet and exercise, stress, medications, menopause, heartburn/acid reflux, pain and even outside influences such as too much noise, light or a newborn baby. Understanding the reason you can't sleep is the first step toward treatment. By eliminating the reasons one by one we can offer some tips on how to fall asleep fast.

1. Change in diet or exercise. If you are eating late at night your body needs time to digest. It is recommended to eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before retiring. Exercising too late in the evening will cause your heart to race and body to heat up. You need time to cool down. Try to exercise in the morning or late afternoon. If you like to exercise to help you relax, try yoga stretches.

2. Stress. Work or family problems can cause too much worrying and you can't let go of these thought to relax enough to fall asleep. Some doctors will suggest a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help, but remember most drugs are addictive. An herbal sleep aide may just be the ticket or a warm bath. If your mind is racing you can either get up and write down what is bothering you. Maybe getting it out of your head will be enough for you to relax and fall asleep. Or listen to sleep music such as; light jazz, easy listening, ocean waves, rain or even white noise.

3. Medications. If your sleeplessness is a result of a prescription drug you are taking you should ask your doctor for an alternative medication.

4. Menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats can be triggered during the night if your room is too warm. Make sure you keep the temperature in your room around 65 degrees.

5. Heartburn/acid reflux. Eating too late and eating hot, spicy foods can cause indigestion. If you have chronic heartburn/acid reflux please see your physician as he may recommend medication or other treatment. This is not something to take lightly as acid reflux if left untreated can be a precursor to cancer.

6. Pain. You can lessen or eliminate your pain with an over-the-counter sleep aide such as Tylenol PM. If you still have problems, call your doctor. He may prescribe a stronger pain medicine or a specialist, depending on the cause.

7. External light and noise. If controllable eliminate the cause. Watching TV, surfing the web or playing video games should be outside the bedroom. If too much light is coming in the window get some blackout curtains. If uncontrollable, you can get an eye mask for the light and/or ear plugs for the noise (not recommended if you have a newborn).

8. Newborn baby. If this is the only reason you don't get enough sleep…time is your answer. Your baby will be sleeping through the night before you know it. Just make sure he/she learns to go to sleep on their own or they will be waking you up for many years to come, because you reinforced the habit that they depend on you to fall asleep.

Other tips to fall asleep fast:

9. Try to keep a sleep routine. If you keep the same bed time each night eventually your body will prepare itself for bed. Remember you need 7-8 hours of sleep to reenergize for the day. Allow an extra 1/2 hour to an hour before going to bed to relax, have a cup of decaf herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint (unless you have a weak bladder), read, meditate, do your yoga stretches, take a warm bath etc.

10. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. If you must have a snack, snack on food with tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that makes us lethargic. Tryptophan is in seeds, pumpkin, turkey, eggs, milk and nuts.

11. Naps. If you like to nap, it is best to take a 'power nap' of 20-30 minutes and before 4pm.

12. Comfy PJ's. Avoid pajamas that are constrictive as they will only wake you up during the night. Believe me, I know.

13. Bed. If your mattress is over 20 years old, lumpy or sagging it is time to buy a new one. If you cannot afford a new mattress try to get a memory foam mattress pad topper.

14. Bedroom. Your bedroom temperature should be under 70 degrees. If you have forced air your room may be too dry, especially during the winter months. A humidifier will help you from getting too congested during the night. This could be the reason you are snoring.

15. Pets. No pets in your bed. If you have to have them near, get a pet bed for the floor. Not only do they disturb your sleep, their dander could cause congestion or allergies.

I hope these tips on how to fall asleep fast have been helpful. If you feel your sleeplessness is causing you to have other health problems call your doctor. He may recommend that you have a sleep study done at a sleep clinic to diagnosis your sleep disorder. :) He can also help you determine the underlying cause so you can get the right treatment. Not getting the right treatment could cause other major health risk, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.