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How to Relax When You Can't Sleep: Tips to Help You Get Some Rest

Updated on February 4, 2014
Counting sheep doesn't always work when you're trying to fall asleep.
Counting sheep doesn't always work when you're trying to fall asleep. | Source

When we were kids, we were told counting sheep would help us fall asleep. As we got older, however, we found out sheep are a lot like bunnies. Where there's one, there will be many more follow. But you'll still be wide awake.

Having trouble sleeping is becoming more and more of a problem in today's time. People are much more busy than in years past, and daily stresses have grown by leaps and bounds. Regardless of the reason behind this world wide insomnia, the main issue at bedtime is still wanting to know how to relax when you can't sleep.

Have you ever tried to not look at the clock when you can't sleep? Shut down your computer at night to help you get some rest.
Have you ever tried to not look at the clock when you can't sleep? Shut down your computer at night to help you get some rest. | Source

Turn Off Electronics to Get Some Sleep

The first thing to turn off is your electronics. The thing about staying on your computer for too long at night is that the electronic light from your PC can simulate sunlight says Dr. Alexandre Rocha Abreu, via US News and World Report. According Dr. Abreu, "The computer screen tends to simulate sunlight, so even at night, you can delay your sleep phase."

One reason for this could be because the simulated sunlight possibly causes a decrease in melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone "intimately involved in regulating the sleeping and waking cycles, among other processes." (MedicineNet.com) It decreases during daytime hours and naturally increases at night, which helps a person to fall asleep. Some believe taking a melatonin supplement can treat this type of insomnia, but the best cure is simply to shut down your computer a little earlier in the evening.

"The same holds true for avid television watchers whose late night shows can be stimulating and sleep depriving," comments sleep doctor Michael Breus, PhD. "Numerous survey findings have shown that people who spend more pre-bedtime hours using the Internet or watching television are more likely to report that they don't get enough sleep, even though they sleep almost as long as people who spend fewer pre-bedtime hours in front of a computer or television screen."

When do you fall asleep faster?

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Fall Asleep Faster by Avoiding Work at Bedtime

Whether it's on the computer or things that need to be done around the house, avoid doing any kind of work an hour or two before going to bed. Both mental and physical labor stimulates the mind and body into waking up, not sleeping.

WebMD adds, "Resist the urge to get stuff done, even though you're wide awake. This is one time when it's better to be inefficient. Keep your TV, computer, and phone off, and leave work alone. Your to-do list, online banking account, and Facebook can wait."

If you have to do something, do things that focus on settling down and relaxing, like stretching exercises or listening to music. Anything that puts you in a sleeping mood is worth trying.

Trade your sleeping pills for magnesium.
Trade your sleeping pills for magnesium. | Source

Replace Sleeping Pill with Magnesium

Instead of a sleeping pill, which can leave you feeling groggy the next morning, try the natural relaxer of magnesium. Magnesium, an essential mineral for the human body, helps calcium absorb into the bones and muscles to relax. It has been used for those suffering with restless legs syndrome, as well as for people suffering from insomnia.

All unprocessed foods include magnesium, but those with a higher percentage are chicken, cocoa, sunflower seeds, nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil, walnuts), peanut butter, pumpkin, whole grain foods, oatmeal, spinach, greens, and other dark leafy vegetables.

If you would rather take magnesium with your vitamins, be sure to stick with the recommended dosage, as too much magnesium at a time can cause severe side effects. The typical dosage is 350 or 400 mg. Check with your doctor first.

Read Yourself to Sleep

In this new electronic age, it sometimes seems as if we have lost appreciation for things like a good book. After long hours on the job, and even longer hours texting and tweeting online friends, reading a book can help the mind relax by taking a break from daily stresses. And when the mind relaxes, sleep is certain to follow.

Some might argue that reading isn't really their thing. However, if sleep is the goal, reading might benefit non-book fans even more, since reading the same line over and over can be a form of meditation in itself.

Speaking of which, meditation can also aid insomniacs in the same way as reading a book can, by allowing your brain to take a break from common thoughts that tend to keep the mind and body awake.

There are many tips and tricks for helping a person to get the nightly rest that they need. Read more about having trouble sleeping and five things that might be keeping you awake.

Count your blessings instead of sheep!
Count your blessings instead of sheep! | Source

How to Overcome Sleep Deprivation - Meditation Tips

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    • T-X-2 profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Definitely try magnesium. I take magnesium with calcium every night, and it really helps. Thanks for writing.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i find that reading book puts me to sleep easily. Turning off electronic gadgets such as TV and notebook are important. These stuffs keep me wide awake all night. I haven't try magnesium yet. Great tips.