Feeling tired but not being able to go to sleep can be a frustrating, vicious cycle. Here are a dozen tips to help you when you can’t sleep.
1. Can’t sleep tip #1: Avoid screens.
It is especially tempting when you can’t sleep to check your phone. Keep your bedroom a screen-free zone. Watching television before bed stimulates your brain, and might keep you awake. And, the light from a screen could wake you up as you are dozing off.
2. Can’t sleep tip #2: Check the thermostat.
Many studies link cooler room temperatures to better sleep. I set the thermostat at between 65 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Can’t sleep tip #3: Get writing.
Writing in a journal or keeping a gratitude jar can help you think of happy memories from the day, and help you go to bed more relaxed and in a good mood. Taking five minutes at the end of the day to reflect and focus can relax your mind, making it more ready to sleep.
4. Can’t sleep tip #4: Darken your bedroom.
Invest in blackout window curtains to keep the streetlamp (or porch light) from shining in your window. And, if you have a nightlight or a bright clock, it might be time to turn it off.
5. Can’t sleep tip #5: Read a book.
6. Can’t sleep tip #6: Take a hot bath.
Changing your environment might be just the right thing to get you feeling sleepy again. Draw a hot bath and take 10-15 minutes to relax in it. You can add essential oils like lavender or muscle-soothing epsom salts for even greater relaxation.
7. Can’t sleep tip #7: Practice yoga.
My favorite option is downloading Episode 76 from the 20 Minute Yoga Sessions Podcast: Yoga for a Good Night’s Sleep. This is a free resource – and it only takes 20 minutes to feel a lot better.
8. Can’t sleep tip #8: Color!
Coloring can change your focus from the activities of the day to the world you are coloring. And, unlike reading a book, you are not getting caught up in someone else’s story, but rather are creating my own “story” of sorts. You might find that after coloring for a while, your thoughts feel less jumbled.
9. Can’t sleep tip #9: Try some tea.
I enjoy bedtime tea before bed for relaxation and gentle hydration. It smells great, and includes herbs that might help you fall asleep.
10. Can’t sleep tip #10: Meditate.
Numerous studies have shown the physical and mental benefits of meditation. According to a review by the National Institutes of Health, meditation can impact insomnia. Not sure how to begin? Check out my post how to start meditation. Even if you simply try breathing slow, methodical breaths in and out 10 times – this is a good practice.
11. Can’t sleep tip #11: Walk around the block.
Depending on how late it is, walking might just do the trick to change your environment, set your mind at ease, and give yourself more time to process the day. Just make sure you feel safe and bring a flashlight. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, walking up and down the hallway might help.
12. Can’t sleep tip #12: Invest in a white noise machine.
Imagining you are listening to a babbling brook or light rainfall might just lul you to sleep. A white noise machine can transform you to another place, and take your mind off the noisy distractions of creaking floors or activity outside.
What do you do when you can’t sleep? Let us know in the comments!
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