Spending hours tossing and turning at night when you’re trying to fall asleep is uncomfortable, disruptive, and downright frustrating.

Anxiety, stress, and overstimulation are just some of the factors that can cause an increase in tossing and turning at night.

In this article, we’ll explore why you might be tossing and turning so much at night and how to make it stop.

There are many reasons why you might toss and turn all night, such as feeling anxious, being overstimulated, having an underlying medical condition, and more. Let’s take a look at some of these causes.

Feeling anxious

If you have an anxiety disorder, increased anxiety at night can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

In one 2017 study, researchers found that somatic anxiety has a significant negative impact on sleep quality. An anxious, racing mind can also make your body feel restless, which may cause you to toss and turn more than normal.

Feeling stressed

Stress can cause both mental and physical symptoms that may make it harder to fall asleep. For example, if you have tense muscles due to stress, you might find it more difficult for your body to relax in bed at night.

In another 2017 study, researchers discovered that higher stress levels were significantly associated with poorer sleep quality in medical students.

Being overstimulated

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light that’s emitted from phones, TVs, and other electronic devices can delay the sleep hormone melatonin.

In addition, loud noises and bright lights from inside and outside of your bedroom can also stimulate your senses, causing you to toss and turn more.

Poor sleep schedule

Going to bed when you’re not tired, as well as going to bed too late, or even too early, can all affect your quality of sleep.

If you’re not tired enough, or even too tired, by the time you get in bed, you may find it hard to relax and fall asleep. The same can happen when you are on an abnormal sleep schedule.

Oversleeping before bed

Research has shown that short naps during the day are beneficial for our health. However, napping too much during the day can make it more difficult to get to sleep at night.

If you oversleep by a few hours in the afternoon, your body may not be fully ready to sleep again by the time you hit the hay. This can leave you feeling restless as you lay in bed at night.

Imbalanced diet

Having a balanced diet can have a positive impact on your sleep quality. Nutrients from food play a huge role in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, as well as other important neurotransmitters that help regulate sleep.

An imbalance in these nutrients can lead to poor sleep quality and trouble falling asleep.

Underlying medical conditions

There are many underlying medical conditions that can lead to poor sleep quality, with the most common being restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia.

Restless leg syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes the overwhelming urge to move your legs. With RLS, the sensation most commonly appears when your body is at rest, such as lying down in bed. The constant need for movement can lead to frequent tossing and turning at night.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is another condition that can cause tossing and turning at night. When you have sleep apnea, your breathing becomes interrupted during sleep. This can cause you to toss, turn, and wake up frequently throughout the night.


Insomnia is a condition characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. There are many causes for insomnia, including other underlying physical or mental health conditions. If you have insomnia, you may find yourself moving around a lot in bed, unable to get to sleep.

Some chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, can also make it difficult to get comfortable in bed at night.

If you’re frequently tossing and turning when you finally get into bed at night, a good sleep hygiene routine can go a long way.

  • Create a comfortable bedroom. The first step in practicing good sleep hygiene is to create a bedroom that you feel comfortable sleeping in. Purchasing a high-quality bed and bedding can help give your body a comfortable place to sleep each night. Want suggestions? Browse our market, filled with editor-trusted and expert-verified pillow and mattress recommendations.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques have been shown to reduce both the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety and stress. You can practice deep breathing, meditation, visualizing, or even grounding techniques to help your body relax and get ready for sleep.
  • Turn off the electronics. Try to stop using your electronics at least an hour before bed to give your body and mind time to prepare for sleep. That means putting away the phone and opting for something easier on the eyes, such as a good book.
  • Stay active during the day. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and help your body relax when it’s finally bedtime. If you find that you constantly have a lot of energy at the end of the night, moving your body throughout the day can help.
  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule. There are many factors that can have a negative impact on our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, from traveling to staying up too late. Following a sleep schedule can help keep your body relaxed and ready to sleep at the same time each night.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Having a balanced diet that includes all the carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other nutrients your body needs is important for sleep. Don’t forget to incorporate foods that are high in tryptophan, magnesium, B vitamins, and other sleep hormone-promoting nutrients.

Other causes of poor sleep and frequent tossing and turning, such as sleep apnea and insomnia, can be managed with the help of a medical professional.

If you’ve taken all the necessary steps to improve your sleep hygiene and still find yourself tossing and turning at night, it’s time to see a doctor.

They’ll evaluate your medical history and ask you questions about your lifestyle and sleep habits. They may also perform a series of tests, such as a sleep study, to determine if there are underlying medical conditions.

If your doctor has diagnosed you with a condition that could be causing poor sleep, finding a treatment plan is the next step.

Tossing and turning at night can cause a decrease in sleep quality and quality of life.

There are many reasons for tossing and turning at night, including poor sleep hygiene, an unbalanced diet, and even underlying medical conditions.

Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as turning off electronics and keeping a consistent sleep schedule, can help you stop tossing and turning so much at night.

If you’re worried that an underlying medical condition is causing you to toss and turn all night, schedule a visit with your doctor for more help.