ZocdocAnswersWhy can't I fall asleep at night?

Question

Why can't I fall asleep at night?

I'm a 28 year old mechanic currently living in Tennessee. I recently moved from a loud city located in Michigan. At work, I am surrounded by loud machinery for a good portion of my schedule. When I lay down to go to sleep, it seems like my mind races and it's too quiet to drift off. I'm not currently taking any medications. I have tried some over-the-counter remedies in the past, but none of them have seemed to help me any.

Answer

Your complaint of difficulty sleeping is a very common one heard by primary care physicians. There are a number of causes of insomnia. If your problem just started after a change in location from Michigan to Tennessee, then the change in background noise may be the trigger for your problem. People get used to their surroundings and eventually find comfort in them. Suddenly finding yourself in a quiet environment may seem strange at first, but you will likely adapt to this new setting soon. To help ease the transition, some companies sell audio files that sound like the background noise in a city; you may find these useful. In addition, it is important to cut out any stimulants that may make it easier for your mind to be racing as you go to sleep. This includes cutting back on any caffeine in the afternoon (including soda). If you smoke cigarettes, remember that these are stimulants and can have a very similar effect to coffee, and they should be cut out of your routine permanently for a variety of health reasons. If these measures don't help you fix your problem, then you should seek care from your primary care physician, who can give you more tips and talk about the need for medication, if indicated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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