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What to Do if I Cannot Sleep: Tips to Fall Asleep

Updated on October 19, 2009

I laid there in my own bed. One hour passed. Two hours. Just cannot fall asleep. Thinking this and thinking that. And then after checking out what time it was, came the thoughts, “oh my God so late already I have to do many things next morning. I need sleep. Ok now sleep. Sleep.” Checking time again. “Oh another half an hour passed and still cannot sleep!” Turning pillow upside down. Changed position. Still cannot sleep!

Does this happen to any of you? Normally you sleep well, but at this time you just can’t.

It is kind of annoying and frustrating to just lay there switching pillows and turning around into the morning dawn. I tried many things to fall asleep at a restless night. I know now if I don’t fall asleep within half an hour, then I will get up and do one of these things:

Tips to fall asleep:

1. Take a hot bath, and relax your body and mind. The main reason we cannot sleep is that our brain is busy thinking or worrying this that we actually do not need to fall asleep.

2. Drink a cup of a warm milk or drink and or eat something a little bit.

3. Drink Nerve-and-Sleeping Tea. It has calming-down and makes sleepy. It contains leaf of lemon balm, valerian root, lavender blossom, and mint leaf.

4. Pick a book and read it (better a normal book, rather boring book, instead of a thriller which may keep you awake)

5. Watch a boring movie. Nearly same effect as reading a boring book.

6. Listen to slow instrumental music. I helped me to relax and fall asleep. But for some people listening to music by earphones at bed is noise.

7. Pray for awhile (give up all problems and burdens)

8. Meditate a while (practice breathing and imagine that everytime you breath-out one problem is away, and for every breath-in you are absorbing energy from your surrounding)

Then, go back to bed and try again to sleep. If this does not work, maybe staying up doing things will be less annoying than spending hours and hours in bed restlessly. If I don’t fall asleep within half an hour, then I get up, leave my bed, and try to calm and relax myself and then go back to sleep again. If this still doesn’t work, then I will just lay there or dedice to do something else instead of trying to fall asleep, depends on the situation. :)

Things that didn’t work for me:

1. A short stroll (this simply don’t work because I had to get dress and the fresh air outside was keeping me even more tired but awake. Let alone the risk of getting robbed or worse. I’d leave this option)

2. Browsing internet. When I got attached to internet or writing, then normally I stay awake too long. I feel to certain point, there sleepy peak was just over and I cannot sleep and spend the whole night awake. This is only if I have the next day free or flexible, otherwise I will have to come up to work with black circle around eyes like panda. 

3. Just laying in bed and letting so many thoughts crossing my mind. Time just passes so quickly. When brain is still active, it is not going to make fall asleep.

4. Watching a thrilling serial like for example Prison Break Season 1. Just cannot stop watching because it was so thrilling and I wanted to know what happen next, next and next. Then whoaaa…nearly morning dawn!

5. Sport. I thought by doing sport I will be tired and fall asleep. True, but it happened maybe half an hour or maybe one hour after sport. The sport itself take times, let alone time to get prepared and cooled down. Just exactly after sport your body release happy hormons that makes you feel energetic/fresh (not sleepy!), and happy.

Sport is good if it is finished 2-3 hours before wished bedtime.

However, I think the key to get a good night sleep everyday is to have healthy daily activities, and to be “ready” for sleeping. Let’s put a sign at bed room door “no entering allowed for worries and complicated thoughts”.

This is the example of bedroom with activities spot that you should avoid to create your "sleeping anemone"


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    • profile image

      Ajjy Chopra 5 years ago

      Take aa Long breath, CLose your eyes. Think about ur past days. And it will asleep u.

    • remaissance profile image

      remaissance 6 years ago

      Nice article. A few months ago, I literally tossed and turned in bed until the morning catching no sleep. It doesn't help that I kept on thinking that I can't sleep and the more I think about it, the more I can't sleep. Nice article and tips. I enjoyed reading this.

    • profile image

      lklk 8 years ago

      keep a notepad on your bedside table. then, if you have any tasks you think of, write them down on the paper. You can now forget those thoughts/worries and know that you will remember them the next day!

    • bekaze profile image

      bekaze 8 years ago from Germany

      bingskee thanks for comment. i know this "counting sheep" method, but sadly it just doesnt work for me, even since I was a kid, because I then will stop counting and develop another story for the lambs after jumping over the fence. hehehe

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      had done all of these and they're all effective at some point. but if the concerns are overwhelming, i'll just count each lamb that jumps on the fence ha ha