We’ve all been there. It’s bedtime. You do your nightly routine. You climb into bed. You close your eyes. You can’t sleep. You’re tired, your body is craving sleep, and yet slumber eludes you. What can you, or better, what should you do when you can’t sleep?
I Can't Sleep - What Can I Do?
Get out of bed
If you can’t sleep, staying in bed could be doing you more harm than good. Staying in bed and thinking about how you aren’t sleeping only causes stress and anxiety. Instead of laying there, get out of your bed and occupy yourself with something else for a little bit. With a dim light you can read a few pages of a book, or listen to some soothing music, but try not to let yourself worry about how you aren’t sleeping. Also, remember that the light emitted from devices are not conducive to sleeping, so try to avoid playing with your phone, tablet, or computer when you can’t sleep.
Relax your mind
For some people, this could be practicing meditation. For others, it could be as simple as thinking relaxing thoughts. Try to push negativity and worry out of your mind and focus on the positive. If you are having too many racing thoughts, this could be what’s causing you to stay awake.
Maybe you need to turn down the thermostat a tad? Or, you can do like I do, and stick your feet out from under the covers. This drives my husband crazy because the sheets get all messed up and I often end up pulling the covers off of him, as well!
Don’t forget to breathe
Performing some breathing exercises can help you to calm yourself down. There are some people that believe that practicing breathing techniques help them to fall asleep. I had heard of, and tried, the “4-7-8” method on multiple occasions. Basically, you inhale for 4 seconds through your nose, then you hold your breath for 7 seconds, and finally, you breathe through your mouth for 8 seconds. Personally, when I tried this method I found that I was concentrating too much on counting and this prevented me from falling asleep.
I am not against the idea of these breathing exercises, or really trying any of these suggestions. Even though I was concentrating on counting too diligently, maybe I actually was relaxing more than I was aware? I am merely reminding you that, unfortunately, there is no one-trick that works for everyone. But could you imagine if it were just that easy? One can always hope.
What tricks have you tried when you weren’t able to sleep and how well did they work for you?