August 16, 2022 6 min read


A frustrating part of figuring out what might help you sleep is being awake all night long because of insomnia. There is, however, no single "solution" for insomnia, contrary to what many people think.

Numerous health conditions can jeopardize your goals for pleasant sleep. Conditions such as pain, a frequent need to urinate, lung ailments, and heart difficulties can all disrupt sleep. Pain and difficulty finding a comfortable position in bed are frequently related to restless sleep. Restless sleep can leave you feeling drained the next day, whether from tossing and turning all night or simply not getting enough shut-eye. However, because it's so common, restless sleep warrants further investigation.

What Are the Causes of Restless Sleep?

Carey et al. (2011) cited some factors that affect emotional and physical health, and sleep disorders or bad sleep habits might disrupt one’s sleep. Stress and worry, particularly diagnosed with anxiety disorders, can keep a person's thoughts spinning and prevent them from relaxing and falling asleep. Grief, sadness, and despair can also severely affect a person's mental state, impairing sleep. Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants can leave the brain and body wired and unable to sleep. Even though alcohol and sedatives induce drowsiness, they interrupt regular sleep cycles and can result in a restless night's sleep, even if you fall asleep quickly.

Numerous health conditions can jeopardize goals for pleasant sleep. Rosen (2019) noted that conditions such as pain, a frequent need to urinate, lung ailments, and heart difficulties could disrupt sleep. Pain, in particular, and the difficulty in finding a comfortable position in bed are frequently related to restless sleep. An asleep environment or bedroom that is not conducive to rest can also contribute to restless sleep. Choosing the right mattress for your body type and sleeping preferences is critical for healthy sleep. An uncomfortable mattress, excessive noise or light, or excessive heat or cold may obstruct falling asleep or remaining asleep.

Observing Restless Sleep

Stockhammer et al. (2002) indicated that several things that one may perceive as restless sleep in another person include the following:

  • Frequent tossing and turning or an unwillingness to wake up
  • Snoring that is excessively loud and makes gasping or choking noises
  • Significant limb movement, getting out of bed, or even sleepwalking
  • While still sleeping, conversing, or yelling
  • Grinding of the teeth (sleep-related bruxism)

When a person exhibits some of these indicators of restlessness, such as talking or moving during sleep, they are likely to be completely ignorant of their actions. They will have no memory of them when they awaken. As a result, they may be unaware that their sleep was troubled.

Toddlers' Insomnia

Restless sleep-in toddlers may indicate an inability to self-soothe, quiet down, and fall asleep. This could happen at the start of the night or if they awaken during the night. According to Vriend & Corkum (2011), In toddlers, restless sleep frequently begins around the age of 18 months. It may be caused by separation anxiety, excessive stimulation, poor sleep patterns, increased capacity to move and talk, or an increased frequency of nightmares. This disturbed sleep is typically alleviated when parents adopt regular practices that promote a constant bedtime routine, a set schedule, and self-soothing to fall asleep.

Adults with Insomnia

According to Ancoli-Israel (2006), adults experience restless sleep in substantial numbers. A higher percentage of cases may be attributed to insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders in this age range. Adults usually have more co-occurring health conditions that result in pain or other sleep interruptions. Adults might suffer from sleep deprivation due to stress, worry, and sadness. Work, family, and social obligations can cut into sleep time, and these concerns may be exacerbated by poor sleep hygiene. Adults, like children, should consult a health expert if they frequently experience disturbed sleep, have loud snoring or breathing disturbances, or exhibit daytime symptoms such as drowsiness, weariness, or problems thinking clearly.

What Are the Most Effective Remedies for Insomnia?

The underlying cause determines the treatment of restless sleep. While practicing easy-to-fall-asleep tactics will help minimize tossing and turning, additional steps, such as consulting a physician, may be necessary to alleviate restless sleep and prevent it from becoming a major problem.


Mindfulness meditation entails sitting quietly and breathing slowly and steadily. Observe the rise and fall of breath, body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  Scott (2013) noted that  Mindfulness meditation's numerous health advantages are associated with a healthy lifestyle promoting restful sleep. It is supposed to alleviate stress, increase attention, and strengthen the immune system. Meditation dramatically improved insomnia and general sleep patterns, according to Matko et al.  (2021); over several months, participants attended a weekly meditation session, a daylong retreat, and practiced at home. You may meditate as frequently as you choose. If you're pressed for time, opt for a 15-minute exercise in the morning or evening. Consider joining a weekly meditation group to maintain motivation. Additionally, you may select to participate in an online guided meditation.

Reciting Mantras

Repetition of a mantra or positive statement can assist in focusing and calming the mind. According to Lynch et al. (2018), mantras induce sensations of calm by quieting the mind. One may use a Sanskrit, English, or another language mantra. Conduct an online search for inspiration or design one that seems appropriate for you. Choose a mantra that is pleasing and comforting to you. It should be a straightforward, affirmative statement written in the present tense. A good mantra will assist in maintaining a constant focus on the repetition of sound, allowing one to relax and fall asleep.

Enhancements to Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene can significantly impact sleep quality in all age groups. Consistency in your sleep schedule, bedtime routines, food, and exercise are wonderful places to start. Finding the ideal mattress for your unique needs and creating a comfortable bedroom with minimal interruptions will help lessen the likelihood of having disturbed sleep.

Maintain a Sleep Notebook

One strategy to better understand your sleep condition is maintaining a journal that records how well and how long one sleeps each night.  Make notes in the notebook regarding restless sleep and any difficulties that you believe may be causing it. Sleep tracking provides insight into your sleep patterns and sheds light on possible trends on what causes restless sleep.


As you may have guessed, there are some things you can do to help calm restless sleep. However, if you have chronic insomnia, you may need to do more than identify the cause and treat it – you may need to change your sleeping habits. One of the most effective ways to help relieve insomnia is to change your sleeping habits – and the best way to do that is to try some new sleeping positions. Some of the most common ways to help you fall asleep include: sleeping on your side, sleeping on your stomach, and sleeping on your back.


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Carey, M. G., Al-Zaiti, S. S., Dean, G. E., Sessanna, L., & Finnell, D. S. (2011). Sleep problems, depression, substance use, social bonding, and quality of life in professional firefighters. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine/American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine53(8), 928.

Lynch, J., Prihodova, L., Dunne, P. J., Carroll, A., Walsh, C., McMahon, G., & White, B. (2018). Mantra meditation for mental health in the general population: A systematic review. European Journal of Integrative Medicine23, 101-108.

Matko, K., Ott, U., & Sedlmeier, P. (2021). What do meditators do when they meditate? Proposing a novel basis for future meditation research. Mindfulness12(7), 1791-1811.

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Scott, D. (2013). Silencing Your Mind: Secret Yoga Meditation Techniques to Clear and Calm Your Mind. Lulu. com.

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Vriend, J., & Corkum, P. (2011). Clinical management of behavioral insomnia of childhood. Psychology research and behavior management4, 69.