9 Things To Do Right Now If You Can’t Sleep
When you can’t sleep, the best thing to do is find a way to relax and take the pressure off. During the night, you can do this by meditating, doing a different task, and avoiding screens and clock faces. You may also want to change your daily routine to relieve stress and optimize sleep.
If you can’t fall asleep for more than 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to do something relaxing in a different room until you feel relaxed and sleepy.
Winding down at the end of the night and avoiding electronic screens can help you sleep better.
Meditation and journaling can help calm the mind and prepare you to sleep.
Did you know?
Insomnia is thought to be related to hyperactivity in the brain. Finding ways to calm your thoughts and take away the pressure to fall asleep can help.
While it’s not the same as chronic insomnia, 33-50% of Americans experience insomnia symptoms. From job worries to jet lag, anything can lead to a restless night. The good news is that there are ways to navigate those stresses. Here are 9 things to do right now if you can’t sleep.
1. Don’t Stay In Bed When You Can’t Sleep
“But I want to sleep. Shouldn’t I just wait until it happens?” This can be the worst choice for some as it leads to associating your bed with worry and sleep struggles.
A good rule of thumb is that if it’s taking you more than 20 minutes to fall asleep – whether it’s the middle of the night or the start – you should tear off those sheets and head to a different room. Try stretching or relieving stress with a weighted blanket like our knitted weighted blanket. Wait until you feel a little sleepy and give it another go.
2. Keep The Screens Away
It might be tempting to start scrolling when you can’t fall asleep, but research shows that spending time with these gadgets at night over-stimulates you and impacts your ability to drift off. They get your brain going again, just when you need it to cool down.
3. Stop Checking The Clock
This tip comes from popular sleep expert Matthew Walker. He had this to say in an episode of the Huberman Lab: “If you are having a tough night, knowing that it’s 3:22 in the morning or it’s 4:48 in the morning does not help you in the slightest, and it’s only going to make matters worse.”
If you can get away with no clocks in the room altogether, that’s the best choice, but at the very least you should try to avoid checking the time when you’re struggling to sleep.
4. Try Journaling
When you can’t sleep at night and are bored, one of the best things you can do is let off some steam in a journal. Try writing in it before going to sleep and keep it on a night table in case worries are keeping you up in the wee hours.
5. Practice Meditation
Another great way to quiet the mind is through mindfulness meditation. Studies have shown that meditation can be a powerful tool to fight insomnia, whether temporary or chronic. There are plenty of guided meditation apps out there if you’re new to the practice.
6. Adjust Your Nighttime Lighting
The relationship between light and our sleep cycle hasn’t changed from our time as monkeys swinging in trees. We need plenty of it while the sun is up, but once that big ball of fire goes down, so should the dimmers on the lights in your home.
If possible, switch to warmer lighting after dark as it helps encourage sleepiness. You can put most phones on a night light schedule, too.
7. Work On Your Nightly Routine
Predictability is crucial for your brain if you want to fall asleep quickly, and one way to get it is by sticking to a routine. Blend the tips above into something like the following and try not to drift too far off course:
- Switch to warmer lights when the sun goes down.
- Put the screens away at least an hour before bed time.
- Get chores like brushing your teeth and getting ready for the next day out of the way.
- Choose a relaxing activity like reading under a weighted blanket and do it in a separate room from your bedroom.
- When it’s time, slip into bed.
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8. Check The Temperature Of Your Room
Another important step you can take if you’re having trouble sleeping is to change the temperature. The perfect environment for sleep is roughly 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can be more crucial for some than others to get to that temperature as our bodies naturally need to cool down to enter sleep.
9. Cut Yourself Some Slack When You Can’t Sleep At Night
There’s a reason we put this tip last on the list!
After reading all about ways to sleep better, it’s easy to feel pressure to put the tips into action. But the reality is that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to sleep. Be patient, and don’t worry if it doesn’t work right away.
The best thing you can do when having trouble falling asleep is to step away from the bed and calm your mind, whether through weighted blankets, meditation, or journaling. As for what you can do leading up to bedtime, having a routine is the key to great sleep.
If you’ve tried all these tips and still can’t sleep, don’t be discouraged. By practicing these habits consistently, you’ll be well on your way towards fewer sleepless nights in the future.