What you describe mostly fits into one of 2 categories:
1- Insomnia: it is "difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep", even when there are no reasons to keep you from sleeping. You feel you're not getting enough sleep, or getting non-refreshing sleep (so even if you sleep a good 7 hours, you still wake up feeling tired), and usually experience one or more of the following: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.
Insomnia may be characterized based on its duration:
-Acute insomnia: brief and often occurs in association with certain life events (for example, when you can't fall asleep the night before an exam, or after receiving stressful or bad news). This is self-limited and will soon pass.
-Chronic insomnia: this is "disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months." Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other clinical disorders, and certain medications, can be behind chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia can be due to another medical or psychiatric issue.
People with insomnia suffer from difficulty falling asleep (onset), staying asleep (maintenance), and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Treatment for insomnia focuses on behavioral, psychological, medical components or some combination of those.
2-Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), officially called circadian rhythm sleep disorder, delayed sleep phase type, is "an inability to fall asleep at a desired, conventional clock time and awaken at a socially acceptable morning time." Studies have found that when patients were allowed to sleep at a time of their own preference, they had sleep of normal quality and duration for their age and were able to maintain a stable but delayed sleep-wake pattern.
The exact prevalence of delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) is not yet established, but it is most frequent in young adults, with a prevalence of approximately 7%. DSPS associated daytime sleepiness, which imaprts negative affects on school/work performance .DSPD has been observed in up to 16% of patients presenting to sleep disorders clinics with a chief complaint of insomnia.
Several mechanisms to explain why DSPD occurs have been proposed:
-Later sleep and wake times: may be due to an alteration in the endogenous circadian system but are also very much influenced by the individual’s behavior, environment, and exposure to societal pressure.
-Genetic basis (circadian clock gene polymorphisms) that can also be familial (autosomal dominant inheritance).
-Association between DSPD and mood and personality disorders, like anxiety disorders.
Before jumping to make the diagnosis of DSPD, other sleep-onset problems (to rule out anxiety, stress, or restless legs syndrome) must be eliminated.
Other causes to rule out include:
-sleep apnea (interruption of breathing for a few seconds during sleep, you snort or make gasping sounds; usually due to airway problems like nasal blockage, or obesity)
-restless leg syndrome: described as unpleasant “creeping” sensation, often feeling like it comes from the lower legs, but often associated with pain all along the legs. This often causes difficulty initiating sleep and is relieved by movement of the leg, such as walking or kicking. Abnormalities in the neurotransmitter dopamine have often been associated with RLS. Healthcare providers often combine a medication to help correct the underlying dopamine abnormality along with a medicine to promote sleep continuity in the treatment of RLS.
How to approach it? Here are some tips to decrease anxiety (if you have any) and improve your sleep habits (or "sleep hygiene"):
-Meditate. Focus on your breath — breathe in and out slowly and deeply — and visualize a relaxing environment
-Exercise regularly: beneficial for your physical and mental health; increases mood-enhancing endorphins. Yoga is a great choice to reduce stress.
-Shuffle your priorities: focus on the important tasks, and divide large projects into smaller, more easily managed tasks. Delegate when possible.
-Soft, calming music can lower your blood pressure and relax your mind and body.
-Rechanel stress and anxiety into something positive
-Talk to someone. Let friends and family know how they can help, and consider seeing a doctor or therapist.
To sleep more soundly:
-Getting a good night’s sleep should be a priority. Uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep daily and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends.
-Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
-Avoid stimulants like coffee, chocolate, nicotine, TV, computer.
-Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet.
-Use your bedroom only for sleeping: avoid watching TV, working, or eating in your bedroom. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, go to another room and do something relaxing.
-Limit your workouts to mornings and afternoons- NOT right before bedtime
-Avoid looking at the clock: otherwise you'll get anxious in the middle of the night.