Bare Feet of a Young Woman on White Bed

Two days ago, I had a carefully curated plan. Here’s how it went: Get home, eat something, do some work, and be in bed by 9:30 pm.

It was all going swimmingly until 9:30 pm, when I climbed into my bed, and put on my podcast; which I typically fall asleep to, and instead lay awake. I didn’t start falling asleep until almost 1 am.

It was, the worst.

There are few things that suck more than going to bed nice and early as you should, only to find you can’t fall asleep. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered on all that. If you find it hard to fall asleep, here are a few things you might need to do:

Clear your head

Hands of young beautiful woman practicing yoga at home

Sometimes, climbing in bed just works: you hit the cool but not cold sheets, and you’re out, just like that. Other times, a little more work is required. There’s something about bedtime that has our brain suddenly switch on. You climb into bed, and suddenly you find yourself thinking about the weather, your day tomorrow, that one weird conversation today, what you’ll eat for lunch, if you fed the dog, and whether you’re saving enough each month to cover a rainy day.

Try journaling. Set aside a few minutes at the same time everyday to just get your feelings and anxieties out on paper, and then move on. In this way you get to process everything without any injury to your sleeping time.

Stretch

Young attractive woman practicing yoga after waking up, sitting in One Legged King Pigeon exercise, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana pose working out, wearing white casual clothes, indoor full length, bedroom

Ever heard of PMR? It stands for Progressive Muscle Relaxation and is an exercise where you first tense and then relax each muscle in your body, working every muscle you can starting from your toes and up. It’s a great way to get your body to relax, which helps it to prepare for bed.

Silence and set aside your phone

Girl using smart phone and lying down in bed late at night

So, one tiny detail I left out of my ‘I can’t sleep’ story; I was on my phone. I usually am, and tend to fall asleep regardless, but this time I was on ASOS, and they have so many items, you can literally scroll for days.

Perusing ASOS on your cell phone in bed is in pretty much direct contrast to what the experts say. Dr Lawrence Epstein, M.D., chief medical officer of Sleep HealthCenters, says that activities such as watching TV, using your computer, or texting act as stimulus for the brain rather than relaxers; and other research has shown that the blue light emitted from these devices blocks the production of melatonin, which helps you sleep. It is recommended that about an hour before bed, you stop using any blue-light technology and do something else, like reading a book, or listening to music.

Stay hydrated

Young woman drinking glass of water

Did you know that being dehydrated can affect your sleep? According to The National Sleep Foundation, being even mildly dehydrated can disturb your sleep. That doesn’t mean you should guzzle a dozen ounces before bed, but does mean that staying hydrated throughout the day will make you feel a lot less dry in the morning, and will help you sleep better through the night! If you’re not sure about how much water to drink, or whether you’re drinking enough – try Lifesum’s Water Tracker – it will send you reminders so you’re never thirsty.

Create a sleep-friendly environment. Turn down the lights, reduce the noise, pre-fluff your pillows, and adjust the temperature in the room. Doesn’t that feel better already?

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Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams