Factors that Affect Falling Asleep

3 min readApr 6


Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-dawn-sunset-man-6944004/

Written by KURA Writer- Rylee Nelson

Getting a good night’s sleep starts with being able first to fall asleep. Falling asleep at a reasonable time sets the night up for a good start. However, many people face challenges that impact their ability to fall asleep, and many of these challenges aren’t always clinically diagnosed. Here are some common factors that affect falling asleep and strategies for addressing them.

  1. Circadian Rhythm Changes:
    In older age, it’s typical for the circadian rhythm to shift, which can lead to an altered sleep/wake cycle. This results in feeling fatigued earlier in the day and waking up earlier in the morning. To reinforce your sleep/wake cycle and routinely fall asleep at a reasonable time, you can utilize bright light therapy in the evening. Light plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s internal clock, and evening light exposure can delay circadian rhythm (Stanford, 2023).
  2. Medication Side Effects
    One common side effect that many medications cause is insomnia, making it difficult to fall asleep. Suppose you feel as if one of your medications is causing your insomnia. In that case, you should discuss it with your doctor before you stop taking it. You may be able to take it earlier in the day, alter your dose, or change the medication (Langmaid, 2021).
  3. Chronic Pain
    Chronic pain can cause insomnia due to discomfort and the inability to get comfortable in bed. Therefore, it’s essential to make bedtime relaxing to promote comfort. You can achieve this by adjusting your sleeping position, using pillows for cushion, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and screens close to it. In addition, incorporating a calming meditation or bath into your nighttime routine before bed are good ways to relax (Pacheco, 2022).
  4. Poor Sleep Hygiene
    Sleep hygiene refers to our daily routines and habits that impact our sleep quality tremendously. Some habits that promote poor sleep quality include watching TV before bed, staying up too late, drinking caffeine close to bedtime, or having an uncomfortable sleep environment. To improve your sleep hygiene, you can start by attempting to fall asleep and wake up at the same time consistently. Another thing you could do is make sure your bedding and room are as comfortable as possible (Suni, 2023).

Falling asleep is the initial step to getting good quality sleep. It lays the foundation for the repairing and re-energizing that occurs while we sleep. Implementing some of the strategies discussed can help you improve your ability to fall asleep and sustain it. Sleep well!


Bright light therapy. Stanford Health Care (SHC) — Stanford Medical Center. (2023). Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/sleep/advanced-sleep-phase-syndrome/treatments/bright-light-therapy.html

Langmaid, S. (2021). Is your medication affecting your sleep? WebMD. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/medications-that-affect-sleep

Pacheco, D. (2022, April 29). Pain and sleep: Common sleep disturbances & tips. Sleep Foundation. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/pain-and-sleep

Suni, E. (2023, February 23). What is sleep hygiene? Sleep Foundation. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene




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