Do You Get Tired But Feel Wide Awake at Bedtime?

In our sleep feature, we identified five different sleep types. Is this one you? Once you find out, begin your personalized slumber solutions.

Sleep Type: The Procrastinator
You get tired early in the evening, but by the time you go to bed, you're wide awake.

What's Going On?
Our bodies have two different mechanisms, one for sleep and one for wakefulness. Paul Glovinsky, Ph.D., coauthor of "The Insomnia Answer," calls them the sleep drive and the alerting force, respectively. The problem is, these two forces can often be at odds with each other.

"The sleep drive depends on the fact that we've been up for a certain amount of hours, building the need for sleep," he says. The longer we're awake, the more intense it gets. But napping early in the evening or zoning out while watching TV can partially satisfy that sleep drive -- so come bedtime, the alerting force has the upper hand, making it hard to nod off. For many people, adds Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., director of Sleep Programs at Miraval Resort, there's "an ideal window of opportunity for falling asleep."

What to Do
For starters, be aware of your sleep drive. If you feel yourself starting to doze off in the early evening -- at dinner, for instance, or while reading or watching TV -- get up and walk around. "It doesn't take a lot. You don't have to get up and run a mile," explains Charles Atwood, Jr., M.D., associate director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Just walk around your house a little bit. Usually that's enough to keep you alert for another hour or so."

However, if you feel yourself getting tired later in the night (say after 9 p.m. or so), don't force your body to burn the midnight oil unless you really have to. As Bala Manyam, M.D., a neurologist and Ayurvedic expert, puts it, "Mother Nature is telling you, 'You silly human being. You're tired. Go to sleep now.'"

Discover the perfect sleep routine.
Try these natural sleep remedies.

Text by Sarah Schmelling

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