You’re lying in bed in a dark room, tossing and turning for what feels like forever. You finally decide to roll over and check the time only to see the bright little light show you it’s 3:47 am. Frustrated that you have maybe 2 hours of sleep left before it’s time to start your day, you may be asking yourself, “What can I do when I can’t sleep?”
We all have those nights we desperately want to fall asleep, and it just won’t happen. Maybe it’s because you’re in a different sleep environment, or maybe you frequently experience restless nights. Regardless of your situation, here are some of our top tips on what to do when you can’t sleep:
1. Get out of bed
Going to sleep should never take you more than about 30 minutes. When you’re lying there for hours on end, one of the things to do when you can’t sleep is to get out of bed. Maybe you have a million thoughts of things you need to do the next day. Take a walk to the kitchen, pull out a piece of paper and write them down so you can revisit them in the morning. If you find yourself having blank thoughts, venture out into the family room to read a book or fold some of that laundry that’s been waiting for you. When your body isn’t tired, don’t force it. Find something simple to do and allow your body to become tired.
2. Adjust Your Temperature
Whether you prefer the air as warm as a cocoon or as cold as a tundra, we all have our temperature preferences when it comes to sleep. When we don’t have control over the air, it can throw a wrench in our night’s sleep. When you can’t sleep, one of the things you can do is control your body temperature. If you find yourself heating up, stick your foot out of the covers and give your body some breathing room. If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, grab a lighter blanket or move the fan closer to your face.
Now, if you find yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum with shivers down your spine, grab a pair of fuzzy socks or a sweatshirt to contain some of your body heat. When in doubt, you can always pull the covers over your head and get cozy in a cocoon.
3. Listen to Something (Podcast, Audiobook, Music, White Noise)
Sitting in silence can be eerily painful and can encourage your thoughts to run rampant. There’s a reason why kids are put to sleep by reading a book or have white noise playing. Relive your childhood and have a bedtime story read to you with an audiobook or podcast. If the sound of people talking is too distracting, try calming your mind with soothing music that lets your mind relax. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Audiobooks are all fantastic and free resources for you to take advantage of when you can’t sleep.
4. Relax and Stretch
Whether you sit all day or are very active when your body is tense, it makes it hard to feel relaxed. One of the things you can do when you can’t sleep is practice a few stretches. Although you can do most of the poses in the comfort of your bed, to get the most out of the stretch, we recommend stepping just outside your bed on a flat surface. In your next restless night, we recommend trying child pose, cobra pose, and knee-to-chest. All three of these poses are great for loosening your muscles, increasing flexibility, and, most importantly, soothing the mind to relieve stress.
Help for When You Can’t Sleep in Jacksonville, FL
Sometimes a restless night goes beyond searching for things to do when you can’t sleep. If you’ve tried all these tricks and nothing seems to be working in your favor, you may have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Other serious illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and other sleep disorders can affect your sleep or lack of sleep. At Jacksonville Sleep Center, we understand no two patients are the same and work to create an individualized treatment plan, so you can start living a better life. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and to start your journey to a good night’s sleep.