Every night, thousands of people have the experience of thinking “I’m tired but can’t fall asleep.” While it may be a small issue if it only happens once or twice a year, the problem is chronic for many people, creating tired days, exhausting nights, and a stressful existence.
According to better-sleep-better-life.com, 1 out of every three people suffers from insomnia at some point in their lifetime. Over time, insomnia can lead to a whole host of other health problems, including anxiety and depression. Because of this, it’s critical to find a way to battle those times that you’re tired but can’t fall asleep. Fortunately, we’ve got a series of tricks to help you do just that.
Tired but Can’t Fall Asleep? Here are 10 Tips to Help
Being unable to sleep is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world, especially when you’re exhausted. The next time you find yourself stressing over sleep, or staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m., try these ten tricks.
- Develop a regular bedtime routine
If you have children, you know that bedtime routine is critical to getting them down for the evening. The reason is simple: people are creatures of habit. When we have established routines and habits, our bodies know what to expect. For example, we wake up, and we eat breakfast. Our bodies know this, so our bellies start growling soon after waking.
The same thing goes for bedtime. When you develop a bedtime routine, you’ll be better able to drift off when it’s time. For best results, make yourself a cup of soothing tea about an hour before bedtime. Ban all screens (blue light from electronics disrupts sleep patterns) from the room, and do relaxing things, like reading a book or taking an Epsom salt bath in the hour before you hit the hay.
Over time, your body will come to recognize this routine as the one that precedes bedtime, and it will wind down on its own.
- Overhaul your bed
If you’re sleeping poorly, your mattress may be to blame. If it’s lumpy, bumpy, or uncomfortable, a full night’s sleep might be impossible. Swap your mattress out if it’s not supporting your body, or if you wake up with aches and pains. Remember: a mattress should be a refuge, not something you battle through each night.
Today, there are dozens of mattresses on the market that allow you to adjust their firmness for a better rest. Once you’ve swapped out the mattress, purchase some fresh, new sheets to make a more comfortable night.
- Don’t smoke or drink
Alcohol and tobacco can both disrupt sleep. With this in mind, avoid cigarettes or alcohol. Quitting both these vices is a fantastic way to improve your sleep and enjoy more restful nights, starting now.
- Exercise daily
Exercise is a fantastic option for people who are tired but can’t fall asleep. While you want to reserve physical activity for the first part of the day (exercise within four hours of bedtime can make it harder to sleep at night), getting a sweat on is an excellent way to improve your brain chemistry and make it easier to fall asleep in the evening.
While you don’t need to become a total gym rat to enjoy these benefits, about 30 minutes of light cardio each day should do it.
- Limit your caffeine intake
Just like alcohol and tobacco can disrupt your sleep, so, too, can caffeine. Even though you might want an extra cup of coffee the morning after a bad night’s sleep, it could disrupt your sleep in the evening to come. Instead, opt to eat an apple and take a brisk walk outside after a “tired but can’t fall asleep” night. Healthy foods and fresh air can help you relax and de-stress, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep the next evening.
- Don’t shy from daytime naps
Although most people think napping during the day will disrupt sleep, this isn’t always true. While you don’t want to take a two- or three-hour nap during the day, a 10- or 20-minute snooze can help you feel rested without disrupting your night that evening. For best results, avoid sleeping after about 4:00 p.m., so you don’t throw off your sleep patterns for the coming evening.
- Get some fresh air
The body’s sleep rhythms depend primarily on natural light exposure. To make the most of this, get outside during the daytime. This can help your body tap into the rising and setting of the sun, and wind down on its own when the evening starts to set in. When your melatonin balance is healthy, great sleep will naturally follow.
- Improve your diet
Diet can have a massive impact on the quality of your sleep. If you find yourself tired but can’t fall asleep, consider whether your diet has anything to do with it. Foods high in magnesium, like cashews and almonds, are ideal for promoting healthy sleep. This is also true for foods with a high vitamin-B content, such as nuts, leafy green veggies, and beans. If you still find yourself tired but can’t fall asleep, talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with things like magnesium, taurine, or Vitamin B6.
- Don’t eat late in the evening
Big meals late in the evening require your body to work hard digesting food rather than winding down for sleep like it should. Instead of eating dinner at 8 or 9 p.m., try to shift your routine so that you’re eating before 7:00 p.m. This will give your body time to digest the meal without interrupting your sleep habits. What’s more, studies have found that eating late at night can contribute to weight gain, since the way your body processes food is different when you eat a large meal and then immediately fall asleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool
Our natural thermostats dip at night. To help kick-start this process, set your thermostat to be between 60-75 degrees at night. This will prevent you from overheating at night and make it easier to slip into a deep sleep and stay there all throughout the evening. If you’re concerned about the house being too cold when you wake up, purchase a learning thermostat and set it to bump up the heat right before you wake.
“Tired but Can’t Fall Asleep” no More
If you feel tired but can’t fall asleep on a regular basis, you know exactly how frustrating the process can be. Over time, it starts to affect your personal and professional life, leading to feelings of exhaustion and irritability. Fortunately, there are things you can to combat it, ranging from simple things like keeping your bedroom cooler and darker, to more complex things, like supplementing and enhancing your diet.
By following the tips laid out in this article, you’ll be able to avoid that “tired but can’t fall asleep” feeling and enjoy happier, more restful nights, both now and in the future. With great sleep comes improved happiness, increased wellbeing, and a better all-around outlook on life. That’s a win-win, no matter how you look at it!