I often can't sleep at night due to a slurry of medical issues, both mental and physical. Often times I fall asleep between three and five in the morning. I know there are many others just like me, so I did some research to benefit us all. Here are 6 things to do when you can't sleep.
Many people don't like to read if they don't have to, but studies show that reading before bed can be very beneficial to your sleep cycle and overall health. According to Sleep Advisor, reading before bed relaxes you, reduces stress, creates an environment of peace and serenity, and leads to better sleep overall. So the next time counting sheep isn't cutting for you, try picking up a book.
Have you ever gotten into bed and something about the day you had just won't let you sleep? Sometimes the only way to get it off your mind is to write it out. Researchers from HealthGrades point to journaling before bed as a good way to clear your mind before bed. Being positive in your journaling is key since it will reduce stress and anxiety and allow you to wind down properly.
3. Go for a drive
Hitting the open, dimly lit night roads with your playlist and a bottle of water can be a really good thing for you. Some people don't like to drive, but for those who do, driving around can a great way to clear your mind and reduce stress. According to the director of The Stress Management Society Neil Shah, "When stressed, our higher brain functions are therefore shut down. Driving to and from work will not require higher brain functions most of the time as it is a known route and familiar traffic condition." This can be applied to a late-night drive as well. When driving along familiar routes, no higher level of brain activity is really needed. This will help to clear your head, and when you get home you will feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Meditation can be a very helpful factor in restful sleep. Headspace states that meditation lowers your heart rate which allows for slowed breathing and a better night's sleep.
5. Listen to music
Putting on a playlist may actually help you reach a deeper level of sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, music "has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax and prepare for sleep." I personally do this and I will say that my sleep has improved since starting to do this before bed.
6. Keep a routine
The Sleep Foundation also points out that nightly routines and a familiar sleep environment, also known as sleep hygiene, play a big role in restful sleep. So as long as you're making things familiar to yourself, that should help you.
This list is obviously not all-encompassing. If there are other things that you know help you sleep, by all means, go for it. Hopefully, though, this can be of some use.