12 Ways To Fall Asleep When You’re Wide Awake
It’s 2 a.m. on a Tuesday, so of course, you’re lying in bed wide awake, staring at the ceiling wishing you were the least bit tired. This happens all too often, and it’s all too infuriating. But anger isn’t going to help you drift back to sleep any sooner, so instead of cursing your body chemistry, give one of these easy 12 sleep tips a try.
1. Do some gentle, calming yoga stretches.
Sometimes a little muscle stiffness is enough to wake us from sleep and make it seemingly impossible to get comfortable again. Try some of these calming yoga moves while lying in bed and they may help you to relax your mind, as well as your body. Child’s pose FTW.
2. Kick off the covers.
Science says cool feet help us sleep. Often times our internal temperatures increase too much while we sleep, creating that rousing discomfort. So stick a foot (or two) out from under the blanket and it might help you settle down.
3. Grab your journal.
If pesky, anxious thoughts are to blame for your sleepless state, take five minutes to write them down in a journal rather than leaving them to stew inside your head. By relieving stress, this method sets your body up for a better night’s sleep from sunset to sunrise.
4. Turn on some soothing tunes.
Play yourself a little lullaby and you could be drifting off again before you know it. Opt for a low-key song with a slower rhythm to trigger your body’s natural relaxation response. Classical, jazz and folksy tunes tend to be the easiest to listen to without making your mind overly alert.
5. Try some deep breathing.
There are so many meditative breathing techniques you can try to help activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Start off with equal breathing (inhaling for four counts and exhaling for four counts) since it’s similar to the age-old counting sheep idea. Test out the 4-7-8 technique if you’re still struggling to find sleep again.
6. Ditch your phone.
Scrolling social media feeds and reading overnight breaking news is only going to leave you more agitated. Plus the blue light emitted from cell phones and other electronic devices stimulates the brain rather than letting the body produce melatonin and do its job.
7. Turn down the thermostat.
Similar to the cool toes idea, if your bedroom is even a couple degrees too warm, your body will know it and struggle to find a comfortable and sustainable sleep state. Lowering the thermostat just a smidge before bedtime can make a world of difference and give you the restful night you need.
8. Read a boring book.
“Boring” is key here, though. A crazy thriller novel is certainly not going to lull you into dreamland. Read by a yellow, dim light for a half hour or so, and you’ll probably be struggling to keep your eyes open before you know it.
9. Brew a cup of chamomile tea.
This calming cup of herbal tea will help distract you from any anxious thoughts you may be having (likely about how your body won’t just give in already and let you rest) thanks to its drowsiness-inducing flavanoids. Better yet, brew this baby and drink it before you call it a night and the 2 a.m. wake-up calls may begin to disappear altogether.
10. Listen to a mellow podcast.
Sometimes the background noise of a low-key conversation can be incredibly comforting. Turn on a mellow podcast that can distract you from frustrating thoughts without requiring you to retain information. There are even podcasts out there designed specifically to help you sleep. Score.
11. Stop trying.
Sometimes, you make yourself most frustrated when keep pushing and pushing your body to relax. This constant dread creates a truly unhealthy relationship with sleep, so just stop and listen to what it wants even if the timing isn’t ideal. Instead of thinking about how bad tonight is, focus on how well you’re likely to sleep tomorrow. Be content where you are.
12. Worst case scenario, get up.
If it’s taking you more than 20 minutes to fall back asleep, go ahead and get up. Doing a relaxing activity like drawing a candlelit bath or even watching an episode of your favorite comfort food television show will help you sleep much better than lying there anxiously thinking about how awake you are.
No matter which strategy you choose, know that a calm mind is always going to rest better than a nervous one. So if you feel yourself freaking out or even getting the least bit frustrated, focus on that reaction and find a sense of control. From there, you can accomplish just about anything — in sleep and in life.