The Betterment Project

Here's What You Should Do When You Can't Fall Asleep

When you’re exhausted, you probably daydream about the moment your head will hit the pillow at bedtime. You can picture yourself sleeping peacefully in your bed with the stress of the day far behind you. You come home after thinking about your bed all day. You make an easy dinner and cancel your plans. You go through the ideal nighttime routine, and you even put on your favorite pajamas. 


You cuddle into your sheets, and then it hits you. You are wide awake at the exact moment you’ve told yourself you’re ready to fall asleep. How did this happen? What went wrong? What can you do? It’s a vicious cycle.


There is no feeling quite like the panic you get when you’re stuck awake making calculations and making deals with yourself and time. “If I fall asleep right now, I can get 5 hours and 24 minutes of sleep.” “If I skip breakfast, I could get about 5 hours and 45 minutes.” “Do I really need to shave today? That could give me 6 hours.” “Well, after all that math, I lost about thirty minutes.” It’s a frustrating situation, the side effects of which include symptoms of insomnia. 


Why Is Sleep So Important?


When you’re exhausted, it’s possible that sleep is important for that reason, and any other reason is simply not your concern. However, we sometimes get overly tired because we don’t prioritize sleep on a regular basis. So, understanding why sleep is so important may help you find a new reason to establish good sleep hygiene and help you avoid reaching that overly tired state that comes from a lack of a sleep cycle.


Sleep is an essential function for restoring and refreshing the body as well as the mind. If resting our bodies were enough to rejuvenate us, a simple binge-watching session on the couch would be enough, and a lot of us would stay recharged. However, regular sleep provides the unconscious state that allows our minds to rest as well. 


While sleep is important, good sleep is even better. One of the hallmarks of good sleep is falling asleep relatively quickly. It should ideally take between 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep completely. When you’re not falling asleep quickly, it could be due to external factors like stress, sleep disorders, medications, overuse of electronic devices, and bad sleep habits. 


Whatever the reason for your delayed departure into the land of sleep, it’s important to address it. If you’re in bed for the recommended eight hours of sleep per night but unable to fall asleep for an hour or more, it’s possible that you’re still sleep-deprived and didn’t have a restful sleep.  


Waking frequently at night is also a disheartening occurrence. If you find yourself awake well before you’re supposed to wake up for the day and you’re unable to fall back to sleep, then, again, you might be sleep-deprived or have other health problems.  


Both of these situations where you need to be asleep and you just can’t get there should be addressed. First, let’s explore how you can get to sleep quickly in the first place.


How Can You Routinely Get Right To Sleep?


Here are steps we should all take to ensure that getting to sleep is as easy as going to bed:


1. Greet the Day


Greeting each day and inviting a little sunshine into your morning routine (try a morning mindfulness meditation) will help set your biological alarm clock to be awake for the day and be ready for a sleep schedule at night. 


2. Set a Schedule


If you want to have routine sleep, then it makes sense to have a sleep routine. Getting up and going to bed at relatively the same times every day is just another way to get your mind and body in sync with the sleeping agenda. 


3. Chill Out


Our bodies thrive at a chillier temp as we rest. It’s recommended that you keep your sleeping environment’s temperature set to between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for the best sleep. This also stimulates the naturally cooler temperatures that occur when the sun goes down, and this tells our minds on a more subconscious level that we’ve entered the time of day for rest. Plus, you keep your natural body temperature down as well. 


4. Mellow Out


Speaking of chilling out, it’s also a good idea to spend time relaxing and de-stressing at the end of the day. When our minds are busy with worry, it can be difficult to quiet the mind. Relaxing hobbies such as visualization, meditating, journaling in a sleep diary, zoning out with a good book, turning on a white noise machine, using Epsom salts for sore muscles, listening to an audiobook podcast, or enjoying a warm bath with lavender essential oil can all help you settle down and prepare for sleep. Relaxation techniques are essential for your bedtime routine. 


5. Supplement Your Sleep


As part of your nightly routine, consider a
supplement of natural ingredients to help you calm your mind, improve your sleep quality and duration, and help you wake up feeling refreshed. There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep, but there is a way to enhance your efforts to have the rest you need. People often find great success with supplements and don’t need sleeping pills.


6. Get in the Habit of Good Habits


When it comes to making healthy choices for ourselves, one good habit tends to beget another. For example, if you prioritize exercising regularly, then the need for other good habits like eating healthier, consistent sleep, and time management becomes more evident. 


As you learn to form good habits, you might also see how good habits like regular exercise, seeing a therapist, and healthy diet help make it easier to get to sleep at the end of the day.


7. Avoid Roadblocks


The road to a good night’s sleep is paved with good intentions and often healthy habits. However, it’s important to avoid roadblocks along the way. Some common causes for trouble falling asleep at night include caffeine, alcohol (nightcaps), spicy foods, and overindulgence. 


You have to live your life, but the timing of enjoying certain things like caffeine can really impact your sleep. If you notice a correlation, then it may be time to make an adjustment for sleep’s sake.


8. Turn Out the Lights


“Turn out the lights; the party’s over.” Who knew Willie Nelson gave sleep advice? Seriously though, turning out the lights and also turning off screens can tell your brain it’s time to sleep. Lights that seemingly don’t bother you may be enough to keep you awake. For instance, scrolling through our phones or tablets may feel relaxing, but screens emit a blue light that signals the brain that it’s time to be awake. 


When All Else Fails

To quote Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” You can do everything right when it comes to your sleep, and you still may find yourself awake and unable to fall asleep sometimes.


Some people will tell you to just lie there in the quiet and rest your body. Others will tell you that if you’ve already tried for 20 or 30 minutes you should just get up and do something. If you’re unsure which is correct, according to Dr. Michael Perlis you should get up to avoid turning your momentary sleeplessness into the more long-term problem of insomnia. You may also have issues such as sleep apnea or chronic pain that are keeping you awake.


It’s recommended that you get up and do something calming like listen to soft music, read, meditate, or practice deep breathing techniques. When you feel drowsy, then you should return to your sleep space and attempt to sleep again. This keeps you from associating sleeplessness with where you try to sleep.


If you don’t already have a natural supplement as part of your sleep routine, this may be the time to see what it can do for you. Complete Calm Sleep Gummies can help you achieve an almost immediate calming sensation through natural ingredients like their terpene blend. 




Consider or talk with your physician about the use of melatonin. As we age, our bodies produce less of this hormone that tells our bodies when it’s time for rest. So, it may be just the thing to help you through your sleeplessness. 


If melatonin isn’t right for you, Complete Calm Sleep Gummies offer a supplement that is melatonin-free that still naturally helps your body prepare for sleep, enjoy quality sleep, and wake up refreshed. Plus, who doesn’t love a tasty treat when your lack of sleep makes you feel cranky or sad?  


You can also rest easy when you use these supplements because they are low-sugar, clinically-backed, plant-based, climate-positive, free of CBD, and travel-friendly. So, you can get to sleep wherever you are. Key ingredients like chamomile extract, passionflower extract, holy basil, and lemon balm extract are some of the natural remedies humans have relied on for centuries to help us enter the land of dreams.


Summary


Sleep is so important to our daily lives. When you can’t fall asleep, it can be a point of frustration, but it can also make you look and feel overly tired. There’s a lot we can do to make falling asleep easier from morning to noon to night. Every part of your day can be leading you to a better night’s sleep.


However, be open to other methods like yoga, meditation, and supplements when your best efforts have left you staring at the ceiling. Your body and your mind need the restoration that sleep provides, so maintaining your sleep health should be a priority like any other healthy choice.



Sources:

Changing Your Habits for Better Health | NIDDK 

How Your Diet Can Affect Your Sleeping | piedmont.org 

Shorter Time in Bed May Protect Against Chronic Insomnia | pennmedicine.org 

 

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