There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when you can’t. Lying awake in your bed for what seems like forever. You try to relax but you’re just not tired.
Getting a proper night’s sleep is crucial to staying healthy and getting the rest you need. Sleeping helps your body recover from the stress of the day, helps build your immune system and relaxes sore muscles. When you’re tired, falling asleep is usually no problem. When you’re not tired, however, that’s when you find yourself lying awake.
Tips For How To Fall Asleep When You’re Not Tired
When even counting sheep doesn’t work, it may be time to try some new tricks to help your body ease into sleep. Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep when you’re not tired.
Once you determine the light level that most relaxes you, make it happen in your space. A dark or dimly lit room is proven to make you feel more tired. When the room is dark, it signals to your body that it is time for sleep.
If you like your bedroom completely dark, invest in some blackout shades. Blackout shades will keep the light from seeping into your room from streetlights, cars or the early morning sun. This is especially helpful if you live in an urban area. If you have a lot of electronics or clocks in your room, shut them off or cover them up so those lights are off as well.
This may seem obvious but shutting off your TV, cell phone and other devices well before bedtime will also help your mind rest. The lights and stimulation from screens have been known to keep you awake longer.
If you prefer a slightly dim room, you can use a small light set to a relaxing level or cover your eyes with a sleep mask.
Keep Your Room Cool
If your body temperature is too high, you’ll have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. You want the temperature of your bedroom to be a little cooler than is usually comfortable for you. If you typically like a room set to 72, turn the temperature down to 70.
Aside from adjusting your thermostat, there are a few other ways to keep your room cool. A fan can also cool you off enough to help you sleep better. Opening a window is another easy way to lower your body temperature. Fresh air has also been known to make you drowsy.
Make sure you don’t drop the temperature of your room too far, however. If you make yourself cold, you’ll be tossing and turning from the shivers instead of the heat. Just a slight cooling is all you’re aiming for.
Adjust The Noise Level
The noise level of your room may also be contributing to your lack of sleepiness. If you find yourself being kept awake by every little noise, try turning on a fan or a white noise machine. White noise machines can be really helpful in drowning out background noise. White noise machines can make any number of sounds from falling water to soothing music. Many people feel they can fall asleep faster with them on.
If you don’t think you’ll like a white noise machine, try unplugging any appliance or electronic device that is making noise. You can also wear a comfortable pair of noise-canceling headphones.
If you live in a loud urban area or sleep with a partner who snores, you might not even realize that these subtle noises are keeping you awake. In the case of snoring, the noise may not even be that subtle.
Maximize The Comfort Of Your Bed
If you can’t even remember the last time you bought a new pillow or bedding, it’s probably time to go shopping. A lumpy or under stuffed pillow can really ruin a good night’s sleep. Old, scratchy sheets aren’t helping you fall asleep either. Replacing your pillows and sheets is an inexpensive start to upgrading your bedding.
If you want to take it up a notch you can also try getting a new mattress or adding a mattress pad. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much faster you’ll fall asleep on a plush, comfortable new bed.
Even when you’re wide awake, a really comfortable bed can make you feel relaxed and sleepy.
Skip The Alcohol
A nice glass of wine may seem like it will make you drowsy but, in the end, it can actually disrupt your sleep. When you eventually do fall asleep, alcohol has been shown to reduce the quality of your sleep. You won’t sleep as deeply, and you’ll wake up feeling unrested and possibly hungover depending on how much you have had.
If you want to enjoy a drink at the end of the day, have it with dinner or after your meal. Just try to keep it at least two or three hours before bedtime. This will help you stay asleep longer and help you fall asleep faster.
Cut Caffeine Early
It’s tempting to have that afternoon coffee at 4:00. A little pick-me-up in the afternoon may have a bigger effect on your sleep than you think. Drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks after 3:00 can keep you up much later than you’d like.
If you find yourself completely awake when you should be sleeping, it may be that afternoon coffee that is to blame. Try to only drink caffeinated beverages in the morning or early afternoon.
Tweak Your Sleep Position
The position you sleep in is often an overlooked culprit of sleep deprivation. If your pillow is too low or too high, it will keep your neck at an uncomfortable angle. This can make you uncomfortable without even realizing it.
Elevating your legs or using a knee pillow can also help make you more comfortable. Using an additional bolster pillow may help soothe your muscles and relax your body enough to sleep quickly.
If you’ve always slept on your side, try switching it up to sleep on your back. Even a slight adjustment can freshen up your routine.
Sleeping in the right position will help make you more comfortable and therefore help you feel drowsy and more able to sleep. You’ll also wake up free of pain and feeling well rested.
Make A Cup Of Herbal Tea
Herbal tea has been shown to have relaxing properties. An herbal tea such as peppermint or chamomile can help you feel tired faster. After dinner, try making a cup to help you relax and get your mind and body ready for sleep. You can have another cup around an hour before bed and you should be feeling nice and relaxed. The warming liquid alone is enough to help you start to feel cozy and sleepy.
Don’t chug a pot of tea and go right to bed or you’ll be waking up in the night to use the bathroom. Waking up for a bathroom break can cause the whole cycle to start all over again.
Take A Hot Shower Or Warm Bath
A hot shower before bed will help give you some time to decompress. You can use that time to reflect on your day and think about upcoming things you may have to do. It’s great to do this thinking in the shower instead of in your bed so you’re not lying awake making yourself more stressed.
A calming, warm bath can have the same effect. Add some lavender, essential oil or a candle and you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time. Not only will your muscles feel relaxed, but your mind will also have had plenty of time to wind down and de-stress.
Both a shower and a bath raise your body temperature. Once you step out into your cool room, your body temperature lowers and it will signal to your brain that it’s time to get some sleep.
Pour A Glass Of Cherry Juice
Eating a snack or having a drink that contains melatonin has been shown to have relaxing effects. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid. Foods that contain melatonin are fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts.
Cherries and cherry juice are a great source of melatonin. Pouring yourself a glass of cherry juice may help you feel relaxed and sleepier.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to snack or have a large drink right before bed. Eating or drinking too close to bedtime can cause an upset stomach or unnecessary trips to the bathroom.
When you’re lying awake at night, feeling as though you’ll never be tired, try switching up your routine or making subtle changes. Having a cup of herbal tea, running a warm bath or adjusting your bedroom conditions may be just what you need to help you feel relaxed and tired.
Relaxing your mind and making your body as comfortable as possible will help you feel tired even when you normally wouldn’t. A cool, dark room with a comfortable bed and soothing noise can make you feel relaxed and ready for some shut-eye.