Do you struggle with sleepless nights?

We all experience anxious nights where we need to sleep, but can’t. Even when we know that looking at our phones won’t help, we find ourselves browsing through interesting topics or scrolling through social media. Some of us might be even searching the web to find solutions for the restlessness they feel on these sleepless nights. These activities, however, may actually exacerbate the insomnia symptoms you are experiencing.

Instead of mindlessly using the internet, we have 8 different suggestions for how to fall asleep on a sleepless night.

How Long Should I Wait in Bed?

A restless man on his phone in bed
Image: Unsplash

No one wants to give up on sleep, only to welcome the next morning feeling restless. There can’t be enough emphasis on how important it is to maintain a regular sleep schedule every day. Keeping a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, positively influences our sleep quality. However, it’s not always so easy to get into this habit. All it takes is a stress factor or an occasional important event that delays our bedtime to mess things up.

Sometimes, crawling into bed can help us fall asleep even if we’re feeling restless. If that doesn’t work for you, then set a time to stop trying for sleep. Sure, we can lay in bed for hours, but that may not always be the best solution. Instead, if you can’t fall asleep after, (let’s say) 30 minutes, decide on switching things up for a change!

8 Things to Try on Sleepless Nights

Take the time to prepare a dim-lit environment if you can. Make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed before you start.

1. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

A man comfortably sleeping.
Image: Unsplash

Assess your sleeping environment for the quality of your sleep. First, if you’ve got a messy bed, try making the bed nicely. Next, we want to make sure our body is feeling as comfortable too. Change out the air in your room by opening windows or control the settings on your AC / heater to a comfortable temperature. If you don’t have control over the temperature in your room, try the following:

Summer: Change clothes if you’re sweaty. Prepare an ice pack with a towel wrapped around it. Drink plenty of water.

Winter: Use a humidifier to prevent dryness. Put on additional layers of clothes or more blankets if you’re cold.

This should make you feel more comfortable and restful in your own bed. Another aspect to consider is your pillow. It may help if you try adjusting the pillow height with a towel.

2. Organize Your To-Do List

Writing out a to-do list
Image: Unsplash

The root cause of our restlessness can be due to anxiety. A small worry from today or our worries for tomorrow may be prohibiting us from relaxing. To combat these feelings, try to visualize what it is you’re dealing with. Write out all the remaining tasks you have to do, not only for the next day but also for the near future. Make plans so that you know when to complete them. This way, you don’t need to constantly shuffle through your head about your tasks. The clarity of understanding “what has to be done by when” allows space for us to feel more relaxed.

3. Remember the Good Things in Life

Sitting around the bon fire with some friends and having a good time!
Image: Unsplash

It’s easy to get caught in a negative thinking pattern when we’re feeling heartbroken, down, or exhausted. Reflecting on bad days sets you on a path towards more negative thoughts. However bad your day may have been, there’s always a positive aspect you can reflect on. Cherish the small things that are often taken for granted, such as a pleasant conversation with friends, or getting through a day without any injuries. Try to overwrite your negative thoughts by thinking about happy things.

4. Have a Hot Drink

Warm tea helps with insomnia symptoms
Source: Unsplash

Some people dislike tea, but caffeine-free hot drinks can induce relaxation. Herbal teas are an excellent choice to accompany our bedtime. Oftentimes it doesn’t contain caffeine so you can enjoy a wide range of aromatic flavors; from those with fruity notes, soothing sensations, to slight sweetness. Most products label their products, ‘caffeine-free,’ if they are so that exploring herbal teas can be fun and easy. If you don’t have any teas, try warm water. Warm water alone can bring comfort and relaxation by heating your body up from within. If you’re too hungry for bed, try some soup. Cooking from scratch would require a lot of energy, so keeping a can of soup in your cupboard can turn handy.

5. Gentle Stretches

A woman stretching in her room.
Image: Unsplash

Light movements of the body and gentle stretches are helpful in falling asleep and feeling refreshed the next day. There are many ways to stretch, but among them, yoga is an excellent choice. The heart rate doesn’t increase rapidly with slow yoga movements, and there are fewer worries about making loud noises in the middle of the night. At first, you may need to practice while watching instructional videos, but this will strain your eyes. Ideally, we want to learn and repeat practice so we can manage without looking at anything. Practicing this daily will help prevent your insomnia symptoms in the long term, as well.

6. Listen to Calm Music & Nature Sounds

A woman listening to her headphones as she closes her eyes.
Image: Unsplash

Calm lyricless songs and the sounds of nature in the background, helps us feel relaxed and focused. These days, you can stream all kinds of recorded sounds using different websites. There are sounds of waves, river streams, and forests. Even with the sound of rainfall, we can choose from dripping raindrops to modest or heavy rain with thunder. On a night that you find yourself sleepless, spend some time looking into calming sounds. Hopefully, you find relaxation within the process and alleviate your symptoms of insomnia.

7. Press Pressure Points

A person pressing pressure points on a hand.
Image: Unsplash

Acupressure is an effective form of stimulation used to help relax the muscles. It helps correct functional imbalances and restores flow in the body. A stiff body can cause insomnia symptoms. It may help your sleep to stimulate pressure points that help alleviate these disturbances. Our hands and feet are especially concentrated with important pressure points. Check out the article below to start with:

Pressure points to help you fall asleep

8. Read a Book

How to fall asleep with reading

Whether you usually read books or not, following the text and immersing yourself in a story can help you stay away from anxiety. However, if you pick up a book that’s too difficult, you may find yourself bored before finding sleep. Start with books that you’ve read before or short stories with a familiar storyline. Reading electronic books will strain your eyes, so it’s better to avoid it if possible. Audiobooks are also great as you can rest your eyes while focusing on the story.

Gaining Good Quality Sleep

We introduced 8 things to try on a sleepless night. Some involve preparation, but many of them can be tested immediately from tonight. No need to try all of them at once. Start with something that’s within your current capability and prevent symptoms of insomnia in the long term.

Happy sleep!

→ Looking to improve your mental health? Try the SELF MIND app FREE for 1 week!
If you’re looking for more tips on how to care for your mental health, check out some of our past blog posts!

ExploreIM Acupressure for Beginners
Acupressure for Beginners

About the Author


As a writer, worked on many medical-related articles based on academic papers. Specializes in articles on mental health and stress care.

View All Articles