Things to try if you can't get to sleep

7 things to try if you struggle to fall asleep

Has anyone else noticed that their sleep has been really affected by everything that’s happening with the coronavirus?

I normally sleep pretty well now the children don’t need me in the nights quite so much, but lately I’ve been finding it harder to get to sleep, and having some really weird, vivid dreams when I do fall asleep.

A while ago I wrote a post about a little trick you can try to help you fall asleep faster, but the way things are at the moment I need a bit more than sticking my foot out of the covers to help me nod off.

So in case you’re the same, here are 7 other things you can try if you’re struggling to fall asleep.

 

1. ASMR

I’m coming in straight away with possibly the most ‘out there’ suggestion on my list, but this is something that really does help me fall asleep when I’m struggling.

I head to YouTube and find an ASMR video to watch.

If you’ve never heard of it before, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it’s basically a relaxing, tingling sensation that some people get across their scalps, and down their backs in response to certain triggers.

The thing with ASMR is that not everyone experiences it, so if you don’t  then the whole thing seems a bit weird.  But if, like me, you do get the tingles then it can be a great tool to help you relax and drift off to sleep at night.

There are loads of videos to choose from over on YouTube, but I normally end up watching Gibi ASMR who has a real mix of videos so you can try a few out and see what works best for you.

 

2. Yoga and meditation

If ASMR does seem a bit too out there for you, then you could try yoga and meditation instead.

Some gentle, relaxing yoga poses at bedtime can help to calm your body and your mind ready for sleep.  You can do a gentle yoga session with poses to help you sleep better in your lounge before you head up, or even try some poses once you’re in bed to help you relax and drift off.

On nights when your mind is still racing then meditating could help to quiet your thoughts.

If you’ve never meditated before then these sleep tight cards look great as an introduction, with different exercises you can try to help you calm your mind and fall asleep.

 

3. Write in a diary

Keep a diary or a notebook on your bedside table so you can do a brain dump at bedtime.  Get all your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

There are a few ways you can do this, so have a play around and see what works best for you.

You can try just writing down every thought that crosses your mind, in a stream of consciousness kind of way.  So don’t edit yourself, don’t worry about making sense, just write down everything that’s running through your mind.

Or you can be more organised with it and write lists of all the things that are worrying you, or all the things you’re thinking about that need to be done in the next few days.

 

4. Read

I’m really guilty of not always helping myself when it comes to sleep, because I tend to curl up in bed with Netflix even though all the advice is to steer clear of electronic devices at bedtime.

Swapping the ipad for a book could be a great way to help me get to sleep more easily.

There was a study carried out at the University of Sussex in 2009 that found that reading can reduce stress levels by nearly 70%, and that reading for just 6 minutes at bedtime can help us fall asleep more easily.

 

5. Listen to a book

If reading at bedtime fees like too much effort, then try listening to an audiobook instead.

You can lie back, close your eyes and listen to someone reading you a story.  Focusing on their words is a great way to stop other thoughts from running through your head over and over again.

Another option is to try listening to classical music as you lie in bed.

A study by Laszlo Harmat found that listening to relaxing classical music can reduce the amount of noradrenaline (the stress hormone) in your system, as well as lowering your levels of vigilance and arousal, which helps you fall asleep and then sleep better.

 

6. Exercise 

Try and get some exercise in each day.  Not just before bed, unless it’s a gentle yoga session, but at some point in the day make an effort to move your body.

There are so many benefits to regular exercise, and better sleep is one of them.

You don’t have to go to the gym to feel the benefits either, just heading out for a walk each day is enough.  I have a few exercise dvds that I’ve been using on and off for years that are great for getting a decent workout in at home.  The one I keep coming back to is the 30 day shred, because it only takes around 20 minutes so it’s not too hard to fit in to my day.

 

7. Try and stay awake

If all else fails, just try and stay awake.

This is a bit of a psychological trick that may well work to help you fall asleep.

The technical term for it is paradoxical intention therapy and it basically involves trying to replace thoughts of trying to fall asleep, with those of trying to stay awake.  The idea is that you end up taking a more passive role towards sleep, by intentionally trying to stop yourself falling asleep.

This post from Insomnia Land explains it in more detail and is well worth a read.

 

Have you tried any of these suggestions?

Which are you going to try tonight to help you fall asleep more easily?

If you have any other tricks up your sleeve that help you when you’re struggling to fall asleep please do leave me a comment and tell me all about it, I’m always up for trying something new when I can’t sleep!

 

This post is linked up with KCACOLS.

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