What To Do When You Can't Sleep

It may be that on occasion you have issues sleeping. It could be that you are having problems sleeping more often than that. Whether you frequently or infrequently have trouble sleeping, here are a few things you should and should not do when you can’t sleep.


Don’t do these things if you are having problems sleeping:

  • Don’t stay in bed - If you are unable to sleep, you should not stay in bed. This will influence you to think about how you are not sleeping. This worrying most likely will prevent you from getting back to sleep.
  • Don’t keep looking at the clock - As with staying in bed, looking at your clock will make you realize the sleep you are missing. Realizing this will make you worry. Worrying will keep you awake.
  • Don’t be tempted by your phone, computer or television - Electronic devices stimulate the brain. By looking at devices such as phones, computers, and televisions, you might unintentionally be waking yourself up.
  • Don’t let your thoughts run away with you - Focusing on items that you may not have control over will only give you added stress. Try to focus on sleeping and to not focus on your daily worries.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine - Stimulants such as smoking, alcohol, and caffeine all have the possible side effect of keeping you awake. If you must smoke or drink, try not to do this too close to your bedtime or when you wake during the night.
  • Don’t eat too late or too much - Eating too close to when you go to bed, or eating too much and trying to sleep on an overly full stomach, will not help you sleep. Try not to eat before going to bed.

Do try these before going back to bed:

  • Do try to relax, do breathing exercises, or do meditation - If you are too wound up, falling or staying asleep could be an issue. If you aren’t familiar with the best way to wind down, there are many apps available for your mobile device that can help you to do just that.
  • Do turn down the lights - Sleeping in an environment that has too much light might be what is keeping you from slumber. Make sure the lights are off or as dim as possible. You might even want to consider using an eye mask to block out any light.
  • Do keep it quiet - As with light, sounds can interrupt one’s sleep. Make sure that the area you are sleeping in is as quiet as possible. Use earplugs if you need to in order to block out any noise that might be keeping you up.
  • Do turn down the air conditioning - Generally speaking, people sleep better in the cold than they do in the heat. If possible, turn down your air conditioning to a cooler temperature. You might also want to switch out your comforter for a thinner, flat sheet.
  • Do read or listen to music, or even an audiobook or podcast - Listening to something soothing, such as calming music, can help you to fall back asleep. Some people have a very tranquilizing voice, and listening to books read by them could be just what you need.
  • Do take a comforting shower or bath - Cold showers can shock your system, but warm showers or baths can be especially relaxing. Incorporate scented soaps, oils, or burn scented candles to amplify the soothing effects.
  • Do track your sleep - It’s especially important to track your sleep if you aren’t sleeping well. The best way to fix any issues is by identifying the problem. You can use an electric device or keep a sleep journal to help you remember how well you have slept.
  • Do discuss your sleep patterns with your doctor - When you continuously are not able to sleep, it’s time to talk to your doctor or other medical professional. Together you can come up with a game plan to get you back on track to some zzz’s.

All of these do’s and don’ts are easy to follow. Hopefully, by sticking with these, you will be back on track to get your best rest.



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