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What to Do When You Can't Sleep

Updated on January 29, 2016

Tossing in bed night after night is never fun. It's so frustrating that the frustration starts to keep you awake. There are things you can do to tip your brain and body off that it's time to go to sleep.

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Cut Out Caffeine After Noon


Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants keep us awake. Caffeine acts by behaving like adenosine, a nucleoside that plays a role in energy production. The caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, which creates more "energy".

Sources of caffeine include:

  • Coffee
  • Regular soda
  • Chocolate

The trick here is to cut out caffeine after noon. Doing so gives your body time to metabolize the morning caffeine, so you can burn off energy and sleep better at night.

Turn Off Electronics an Hour Before Bed

Use of electronics stimulates the brain by asking it to process what it is seeing. Staring at a computer or television screen is also straining on the eyes. This combination makes sleep harder to come by. Turn electronics off an hour before bed to give your brain time to wind down and relax.

Instead of watching T.V. before bed, try something a little more relaxing. This could include:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music
  • Spend time with the family

Have a Bedtime Routine


Creating a routine helps to clue your body in on the fact that it's time to get tired and go to bed. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow, brush your teeth, get into your pajamas, or whatever it is you do before bed. Just be consistent.

Have a Comfy Bedroom

Having a comfortable sleeping area is important. This includes everything from the mattress to the sheets to the room itself.

  • Make sure your mattress is comfortable and doesn't leave you hurting in the morning.
  • Wash your sheets regularly. Something about sleeping on soft, clean sheets is relaxing and refreshing.
  • Turn off all the lights in your bedroom. Turn your alarm clock to face away from you. Block or turn off any LED lights in your room.

Your bedroom needs to relax you and put you in the mood for sleep. Do what you have to do to get comfortable.

Don't Toss Around in Bed

Give yourself ten minutes to get to sleep; during this time, try to focus on your breathing and relaxing each part of your body. If you are laying in bed, and you can't get to sleep, get up. Don't lay there and toss and turn. If you do, your brain with get used to tossing in bed. You'll basically make it a habit to toss and turn every night. The best thing you can do is get up, find something relaxing to do, and wait until you feel tired again.

In Summary...
Cut out caffeine.
Turn off electronics.
Have a bedtime routine.
Have a comfortable bedroom.
Don't toss and turn.


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    • sagolia profile image

      sagolia 22 months ago

      @Michaela Osiecki - that's really interesting! Coffee doesn't make me crash, but I don't get that much of an energy boost from it (if any). But hey, I guess everyone can react differently!

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 22 months ago from USA

      I actually drink coffee to get to sleep. The crash that comes shortly after the caffeine buzz is perfect.