What to Do When You Can’t Sleep

What to Do When You Can't Sleep

Are you lying there under the duvet, eyes firmly stuck shut, while your mind is running over all the things you have to do tomorrow?

Or are you tossing and turning in bed, thinking over all the different things that have gone wrong during the day?

If so, then read on for some tips on what you can do to help yourself.

What to do when you can’t sleep

1. Don’t get discouraged

If you can’t sleep, don’t get discouraged.

After all, it is perfectly natural for some people to have difficulty sleeping.

According to the Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas, It’s normal to lie in bed for about 20 minutes before you actually fall asleep.

2. Try progressive muscle relaxation

At night, as your body is relaxing and getting ready for sleep, you might find that your muscles are tense.

This can cause you to become restless and unable to fall asleep

Therefore it’s a good idea to learn how to relax your muscles properly – just before going to sleep

You can use the following steps to do this:

  • First, with your eyes closed, tense the muscles in your face (for example, the muscles around your eyes, lips, and jaw) for 10 seconds.
  • Then relax.
  • Next, tense the muscles in your neck and shoulders for 10 seconds.
  • And relax again.
  • Next, tense your arms and hands for 10 seconds.
  • Then relax before doing the same with your legs and feet (squeeze them together).

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine study review, progressive muscle relaxation can help people with insomnia.

3. Practice deep breathing techniques

Once you’re lying comfortably in bed, try to take nice deep breaths.

Do this by breathing in through your nose with your mouth closed and then exhaling through your mouth.

Deep breathing exercises help your body relax – and this can make it easier for you to fall asleep.

4. Meditate or pray

Another great idea is to meditate or pray.

As you are lying in bed, try to pray in your mind for 10 minutes about things for which you are grateful.

For example, think of the people in your life that mean a lot to you or of all the wonderful things you have in your life right now.

And if you’re not a religious person, try meditating on the following statement:

“I am going to have a good night. I am going to sleep really well and wake up feeling refreshed tomorrow.

5. Try counting sheep

This is a well-known trick for helping people get to sleep.

But the question is:

Does counting sheep actually help people get to sleep?

To answer this question, researchers at Oxford University tested the “counting sheep method” by asking insomniacs to either:

A) Count sheep

B) Imagine a relaxing scene such as a waterfall

The result?

Researchers found that over the course of the study, more people fell asleep when they were counting sheep compared with those who imagined a relaxing scene.

So how do you count sheep properly?

It’s simple:

While you’re lying in bed and struggling to fall asleep, start by closing your eyes.

And then picture yourself in a meadow full of sheep.

Then count the sheep as they jump over a fence, one by one by one…

If thoughts come into your head, simply bring yourself back to counting the sheep again.

Read on: How to get enough sleep every night

6. Visualize yourself sleeping

Another technique is visualization, whereby you imagine yourself asleep in the hours beforehand.

Imagine how it will feel when you turn off the light; what kind of things you’ll be dreaming about.

You can also visualize yourself waking up naturally and healthily in the morning.

According to Sleep Foundation, you can actually use this technique as part of your bedtime relaxation.

7. Try white noise

Are you lying in bed, looking at the ceiling and wondering why you can’t sleep?

One reason could be that there is too much noise!

For example, if there’s a train line near your house or apartment building, you might not be able to get asleep at night because you are always hearing the sound of trains.

White noise is great for helping people with insomnia fall asleep.

Because it drowns out all the other background noises that might be preventing you from sleeping.

You can also use a fan for this purpose, as long as it is not blowing directly onto you.

8. Get up and do something else for a while

If you are still wide awake at 1 am, there is no point lying in bed wasting time or getting upset about it.

Get up and do something else for a few minutes – but make sure you don’t work, watch television or use social media since this can make it harder for you to fall back to sleep.

For example, you could read a book, drink some water or do some simple stretches to relax the muscles in your body.

9. Take a hot bath

Another great natural way to help you sleep is to take a hot bath just before going to bed.

Fill the tub with water as hot as you can comfortably stand it, then let your muscles relax for 20 minutes or so.

The hot temperature and steam in the air will help you to relax, and it should improve the quality of your sleep.

10. Go to bed earlier


The harder you try to sleep, the more stressed and frustrated you get about not sleeping.

And all this stress and frustration can make it even harder for you to fall asleep.

So if possible, go to bed earlier, and then you won’t have to lie there feeling upset about not being asleep.

Bottom line

If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed for hours feeling frustrated and stressed out.

Take steps to relax your muscles, visualize yourself asleep or try meditating instead.

And if nothing works after 30 minutes, get up and do something else until you feel tired enough to fall back to sleep again.

Keep reading: How to Make Tangerine Peel Tea to Help You Fall Asleep In Minutes