In a previous post, we discussed how you can overcome insomnia naturally in order to get a good night’s sleep. However, insomnia is not something most people can manage to cure overnight. It will take time before you are able to sleep through the night and create a sleeping schedule you can stick to for good. As you adjust, you might wonder what to do when you can’t sleep at night instead of wasting your time staring at the bedroom ceiling counting sheep.

You may lie awake trying and failing to will your mind and body to slow down so you can relax and fall asleep. Since it might be difficult to get the recommended 8-10 hours of rest while battling insomnia, in this post, we shall discuss some of the things you can do when you can’t sleep at night. Read on.

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Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep at Night

  1. Write

Perhaps, the reason why you can’t sleep at night is due to racing thoughts that make you feel anxious and worried. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is one of the best things to do when you can’t sleep at night as it will help quiet the chatter in your brain. It will be a way for you to do a brain dump and unburden your mind.

Writing could also help you declutter and sort out your thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it can assist you to stop ruminating so you can finally relax and sleep.

  1. Read a book

Remember how much you used to love it when someone read you a bedtime story as a kid? Why don’t you use this same trick to help you fall asleep faster even now? When you can’t sleep at night, use this rare quiet time to read a book and escape into the fantasy world created by the author. It will distract you and take your mind off your real-life problems for a while, which might be just what you need to do to fall asleep fast.

A study by the University of Sussex confirmed what every bookworm already knows; that reading helps with stress relief, and thus it will enable you to relax enough to fall and stay asleep. For the best results, don’t pick books by authors who you know write unputdownable books. Instead, choose more boring books to read when you can’t sleep at night.

  1. Listen to soothing music

Though we may like different genres, we all love music. Hence, one of the best things to do when you can’t sleep at night is to listen to soothing music. Create a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom by putting on slow songs, instrumentals, or ambient music at a low volume. The music will act as a lullaby, thus helping you sleep faster and more deeply.

READ ALSO: The Impact of Video Games, Music, TV Shows, and Movies on Mental Health

  1. Do yoga

Your muscles may be too tense to allow you to have a restful sleep. If this is why you can’t sleep at night, get out of bed and do some stretching exercises to help you relax. Yoga is one of the best things to do when you can’t sleep at night due to tense muscles.

If you don’t know the best yoga poses for stretching to relax your muscles at night, you can find many yoga tutorials on YouTube to try out when you can’t sleep.

  1. Meditate

If, after lying awake for about 30 minutes, you still can’t sleep because of worries and racing thoughts, it is time to try another strategy to help you relax and fall asleep. One of the things to do when you can’t sleep at night is to practice meditation to calm your mind.

Lie down in your bed or sit quietly on the bed/floor with your legs and eyes closed and focus on the present moment. Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind without validation or judgment. Let them go and maintain your focus on your breathing and the present. Meditation will help you make peace with your past, stop worrying about the future, and live in the moment.

READ ALSO: 7 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Relaxing and Positive

  1. Take off your clothes

Still wondering what to do when you can’t sleep at night? It is time to get naked! Discomfort while sleeping due to beddings and pajamas that are too warm or those whose fabric irritates your skin can make you wake up multiple times at night.

For a restful sleep, you need to feel comfortable and your body needs to cool down. If the age-old trick of sticking one foot out to the cool air or throwing off the covers doesn’t work, you can aid the cooling process by taking off your clothes and sleeping naked.

  1. Play a repetitive game

Play a game…to sleep? Wouldn’t playing a game keep you awake longer? You are probably wondering how playing games can be one of the good things to do when you can’t sleep at night. It is true that most games are addictive, thus making it harder for you to stop playing and go to sleep. Others challenge your mind making your brain too active while trying to come up with new strategies and solutions, thus also making it harder to sleep.

Nonetheless, some games do help with sleep. When you can’t sleep at night, playing games such as Sudoku, Solitaire, word games, counting backward, and any other repetitive games can help you beat insomnia.

READ ALSO: 17 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young

  1. Do some breathing exercises

If you suffer from chronic anxiety, it is very likely that you also have sleeping problems. Breathing exercises are some of the best things to do when you can’t sleep because they help calm your anxious mind.

Studies indicate that taking deep breaths sends a signal to your brain to calm down, thus reducing anxiety and stress. So, if you often have a racing heartbeat, feel too hot, and like your body is constricting while on your bed trying to sleep, sitting with your back straight and taking several slow deep breaths can help you calm down.

  1. Deal with your problems

Stress and worries about all the things happening in your life or those that might occur in the future can keep you awake at night. Perhaps you can’t sleep because you are postponing a confrontation, procrastinating on doing a particular task, stressed about work, or you have been obsessing about something.

When you can’t sleep at night, getting your sh*t together and finding solutions to any problems that could be stressing you out or making you anxious can make it easier for you to fall asleep. You don’t even have to start acting on the solutions right then; After all, it is probably in the middle of the night. But having a clear plan of all the actions you need to take to solve your problems will put your mind at ease, thereby helping you have a restful night.

READ ALSO: 12 Useful Types of Lists to Make When Bored

  1. Get out of bed

Sometimes it is a waste of time to keep lying in bed when you can’t sleep. If you have tried everything to help you go back to sleep and nothing is working, it is okay to just get out of bed and do something productive.

Doing some work, taking a bath, cleaning the house, or decluttering and organizing your bedroom and closet are some of the best things to do when you can’t sleep at night. Keeping yourself busy can take your mind off your troubles and even make you tired enough to fall asleep as soon as you lie down in your bed again.

READ ALSO: 10 Signs You Are Headed for Burnout (and How to Prevent It)

Wrapping Up

Tossing and turning all night long is not something anyone wishes to endure. Since sleep deprivation can affect your health, mood, productivity, and quality of life, it would be great to know what to do when you can’t sleep at night due to anxiety, stress, pain, or other reasons. If you are an insomniac trying to beat insomnia for good, you now know the things to do when you can’t sleep at night. These activities will help you fall asleep or go back to sleep whenever you wake up at night, and hence, you will never have to suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.


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