Bedtime and I have a love/hate relationship. You see, I love to sleep… but I have a hard time doing it. Because I can’t fall asleep easily, bedtime gets stressful for me. After hours of tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, and replaying every second from the day over and over (or is that part just me?!), something’s gotta give and something has to be done!
Believe it or not, scientists say that if you can’t fall asleep you should stop trying and just do something else. Making the choice to stay awake instead of trying to force yourself to sleep is a formal strategy of insomnia treatment in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It seems a little counterintuitive at first thought but it really does make sense and it totally works! Just make sure you don’t adjust your sleep schedule the next day. Don’t sleep in, don’t take a nap, and don’t go to bed earlier. If you keep a regular sleep/wake schedule, your sleep should be regulated in 3-5 days!
9 Things To Do When You Can’t Fall Asleep
Ya gotta do it anyways, might as well do it instead of laying in bed twiddling your thumbs. Not only will cleaning start to tire you out naturally, but your body will also be like ‘hey, wtf are you doing? you’re supposed to be sleeping lady (or man!) – and then you’ll REALLY feel tired.
Did you know that reading reduces stress by 68%?! Dr. Lewis of the University of Suffix found that reading for just 6 minutes before bed will significantly relax your body and tell your mind it’s time to go to sleep. A few of my recent favorite books? Furiously Happy, Where We Belong, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck!
Shocking, I know! Just kidding, there should be no shock here. Journaling is one of the most talked about activities when it comes to not being able to sleep. Something about getting all of your thoughts out of your head and onto paper helps quiet your mind. Here are a few journal prompts to start with:
- Write about an experience you are grateful for
- Write about your ideal self care day and make a plan to execute it
- Write about a recent success or obstacle you overcame
Don’t Turn On The TV
The lights and the noise from the TV will be too stimulating if you already can’t fall asleep. In fact, most sleep experts suggest not even having a TV in your room at all and you definitely should not be watching it before bed. If you can’t sleep, turning on the TV is probably one of the worst things you can do for yourself in that moment. Try coloring, reading, or journaling instead.
Get On A Sleep App
Because who doesn’t love a good bedtime story?! I love apps for sleep and meditating, When I feel myself having a hard time falling asleep I usually give the app Calm a try before anything else. If I still can’t fall asleep, then I’ll try some other things in this post.
Related: 8 Awesome Apps to Calm You Down
Take a Bath With Lavender Bubble Bath Soap
You can do SO many things with lavender for your health it’s bananas! Taken orally it can help with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain. It can also be used topically for skin, hair, and wounds. Andddd you can use it as an aromatherapy tool as well as an ingredient in food! So many good uses for lavender, especially as a sleep aid. Getting in a hot bath with lavender soap may be exactly what you need to relax and fall asleep.
Write a To-Do List And Quickly Put It Away
You might be having a hard time sleeping because you are thinking about and trying to prioritize all of the things you have to do. Getting it out of your head and down on paper will probably help your mind quiet so you can fall asleep. Just make sure to put the list away as soon as you’re done with it and trust that it will be there for you tomorrow.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercises
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is an approach to relaxing your muscles through systematically tensing and un-tensing particular muscle groups in your body. See how it’s done here.
Do Your Least Favorite Task
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a pile of laundry to fold or clothes that didn’t quite cut it for your outfit that day laying around somewhere (okay, fine I definitely have a few of these piles around the apartment!). For some reason I just really don’t like putting clothes away. When I really can’t sleep, I’ll put my clothes away. For some reason, it makes me want to do nothing more than go to bed when I’m folding clothes at 2am! Try doing your least favorite task when you can’t fall asleep.
What do you do when you can’t fall asleep? Share your tips in the comments below!
I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!