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Can You Be Too Tired to Sleep?

Can You Be Too Tired to Sleep?

Sandland Editorial Team
· 4 min read
too tired to sleep

You know the feeling. Your sleep routine hasn't been stellar, and now it's catching up to you. You try to bang out all responsibilities as quickly as possible so that you can get back home and into bed. Finally, your head meets the pillow and you expect to nod off in no time. But after a few minutes, and a few minutes more, you're still up and in your thoughts. It's not possible, you think. Still, you can't help but wonder, is it possible that you can be too tired to sleep?

Why Am I Too Tired To Sleep?

If you've encountered instances in which you feel you're too tired to sleep, you're not alone. But the reasons why may vary. Check out the list below to learn more.

1. You're getting too much stimulation

Playing on your phone, watching TV, and using your computer are pretty common activities, but this kind of technology can be damaging to your sleep.

Electronic light (especially blue light from devices) not only blocks your brain from being able to produce melatonin, but it tells your brain that you're awake and stimulated, making it difficult to get in a relaxing state and sleep. That's why it's important to put down those screens about an hour before bedtime.

Remember, that goes for both children and adults!

2.  You're a bona fide night owl

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, but wake up fairly early in the morning, chances are your internal clock is telling you to stay up late and wake up late. Unfortunately, studies show night owls are more likely to experience jet lags during the day because life often forces them out of bed before they're ready to rise.

3.  You're not getting enough exercise

We all get couch-bound every once in a while, but if you want to sleep well it's important to get moving. The relationship between exercise and sleep has been studied extensively. Today, most researchers agree that a lack of exercise can compromise your ability to sleep well throughout the night.

Try to get moving for at least an hour a day, even if that means just going for a walk. The more physical activity you do in the day, the less time you'll spend trying to force yourself to sleep.

The Circadian Rhythm, Explained

personal fatigue

The thing is, humans are creatures of habit.  There are certain things that we need to do over and over again to survive, like eating, drinking, and sleeping.  And we can get even more particular than that. Remember, our bodies like doing things at certain times as well. That's why breakfast, lunch, and dinner typically take place during times hunger is most likely to strike.

The same goes for sleep. Our body is wired to shut down at certain times; usually at night.  This is where the circadian rhythms come into play. These processes refer to the 24-hour cycle that runs our body's internal clock and tells us when to do certain things, like sleep.

If you're not sleeping enough, or if your sleep schedule fluctuates too often, you're probably creating some pretty significant disruptions in these processes. And that can lead to feeling tired throughout the day. It can also make it harder to fall asleep at night.

What's the Difference Between Being Sleepy and Being Tired?

A lot of folks use "sleepy" and "tired" almost interchangeably. But there is a difference between the two terms, and it revolves around timing.

Have you ever gone for a strenuous hike and hole up on the couch immediately after? You want to rest, but you aren't quite able to sleep. That's an indication of being tired, not sleepy. Simply put, your body just needs to stop moving for a while.

Being sleepy is indicative of barely being able to stay awake. In these instances, it's best to avoid any kind of physical activity. A lack of sleep can make you feel sleepy throughout the day. Diet, medications, and other underlying issues can also contribute to daytime sleepiness.

Why Am I Feeling Overtired?

Being overtired means feeling exceedingly tired as from overexertion or lack of sleep.  Brain fog, slower processing, moodiness, and fatigue often accompany the condition. Read on to learn other factors that may contribute to the condition.

1.  Anxiety

According to a 2016 study conducted by the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, moderate to severe anxiety can slow down the release of sleep-promoting chemicals in the brain, so while you may be tired at the end of the day, anxiety and physical exhaustion can cancel each other out, making it harder to sleep.

2.  Caffeine

Some of us are pretty reliant on our morning coffee. Others slam five or more cups throughout the day. It makes sense, especially for those who are juggling demanding schedules. After all, caffeine is pretty effective at waking you up, and it also increases dopamine levels in your blood, so you feel more alert and energized.

While that's a welcome effect during the day, it's not what you want to experience come bedtime. After all, it's pretty hard to fall asleep when you're still wired on caffeine, no matter how much your body wants to rest.

3.  Napping

A 20-30 minute nap can be exactly what you need to get through the rest of the day, but it's important to honor those increments. Any longer and your nap may actually impact your ability to fall asleep at bedtime, making it difficult to achieve the amount of sleep you need before it's time to wake up. Over time, this can make you feel as though you're always tired, even when it's time to go to bed.

4.  Screen Time

Light from electronic screens is disturbing your sleep by suppressing melatonin.  If you spend lots of time in front of your phone, tablet, laptop, or TV before bedtime, you can easily become exhausted. Apart from lowering your melatonin levels and dampening arousal, getting too much screen time may cause fatigue, dry eyes, and an irregular sleep cycle.

5.  Diet

Sleep and diet go hand in hand. Research suggests that Vitamin B12 and calcium deficiencies can cause fatigue and sleep problems. Unhealthy eating habits can also come into play. Overeating and skipping meals can prevent our bodies from receiving the fuel it needs. It can also make it difficult to get to sleep at night, causing us to feel sleepy throughout the day.

6.  Other Sleep Disorders

Underlying sleep disorders can also make you feel overtired. Recurring episodes of insomnia and sleeplessness, for instance, can make it impossible to get enough sleep. Symptoms of other and potentially more serious disorders don't always include a lack of sleep Sometimes, they simply present with chronic fatigue. In these instances, it's best to talk to your doctor. Remember, not all issues

What Can I Do To Fall Asleep?

fatigue and lack of energy affect the body

Here are some tips on how to get to sleep more easily:

  • Turn off the lights and turn on some background music:  If you have a TV or other noises that disturb your sleep, switch those off first. Then play some soothing music to help you relax.
  • Exercise. Lack of physical activity may be causing your sleep problems.  A little regular workout to keep physically fit has the added benefit of helping you sleep.
  • Take a warm shower:  The change in temperature will help you feel sleepy and relaxed.
  • Try breathing exercises:  Stress can compromise your ability to fall asleep. Try performing some light breathing exercises before bed to release tension.

Take sleep supplements:  If nothing else works, you may need some outside help.  Popular sleep supplements containing melatonin, cannabinol, and magnesium can help correct your cycle.


Regular sleep can help you better manage your anxiety, boost your immune system, improve your overall health, and maintain a healthy weight. Though we all have an internal clock telling us when it's time to go to bed and when it's time to wake up, they don't all operate effectively.

Enter Sandland Sleep. Made with natural, hemp-derived ingredients enhanced with melatonin, ourFall Asleep andStay Asleep supplements can help you combat your sleep problems without any morning-after effects. Get the eight hours of sleep you deserve, and wake up refreshed.

Is it possible to be too tired to go to sleep?

Yes. If you feel too tired to sleep, it is usually indicative of not getting enough sleep in the past 24 hours. This can also be indicative of an underlying health condition, including mental health or sleep disorders.

What is it called when you are so tired you can't sleep?

Too tired but still can't sleep?  That's called being overtired.  The condition presents when you haven't gotten enough sleep and is defined by feeling excessively tired.

Why do I not want to sleep even when I'm tired?

Being unable to sleep when tired can be tied to a few different things. You may have had too much caffeine, for instance. Or, you might be exposing yourself to too much blue light before bed. Other potential causes include anxiety, dietary habits, and lack of physical exercise.

Should I go to sleep when tired?

Ideally, you should only go to bed when you're tired and when it's time to sleep. Try to hold out if you're feeling sleepy too early in the evening. Getting into bed prematurely can disrupt your internal clock and really throw your sleep schedule off. Going to sleep at the same time each night is indicative of good sleep hygiene and will help you foster good sleep habits. If you're really tired, try to figure out ways to rest without sleeping.

Written by Sandland Editorial Team

Our internal editorial team has put together research on key topics including product formulation, efficacy studies, and sleep advice.

What Color Light is Best for Sleep?

Interestingly, total darkness isn't always conducive to sleep. In fact, a sizable percentage of people have difficulty sleeping in total darkness, which helps explain the 260 million dollar global nightlight market. With that, we wanted to spend some time looking into what color light is best for sleep, here's what we found:

Your Guide to Microsleep

Have you ever felt that sudden jerk and woken up in the middle of a lecture? Maybe it happened when you went to school sleep-deprived or after a series of night shifts. Maybe it even happened to a driver you were traveling with. This common occurrence is a medically reviewed phenomenon and even has a name — Microsleep. While microsleep events happen thousands of times every minute across the world, microsleep is nothing to be taken lightly. Let’s look deeper into the symptoms, causes, dangers, and treatments of microsleeps.

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