There you are - in the dark - with eyes wide open, struggling to fall back asleep. Anyone who’s experienced significant bouts of sleeplessness knows the havoc this can wreak on our energy, mood, and cognition. To help, we’ve pulled together the best tips on how to fall back asleep.
1. Don’t look at the clock
When you get tired of staring at the ceiling or switching sleep positions, it’s tempting to take a peek at the time. Resist the urge to check the clock! Sleep experts agree that watching the minutes pass sets off a worry cycle, keeping your brain more alert and stressing you out. It makes getting back to sleep that much harder. If you’ve got a clock on your night table, turn it around (your phone shouldn’t be anywhere nearby).
2. Try a relaxation exercise
Starting with your toes and working up to your forehead, tightly tense each of your muscles for five seconds, and then slowly let them relax. Do one leg and one arm at a time, and pay special attention to areas of your body that hold tension, like your jaw and neck.
3. Put your worries on paper
Often, sleeplessness stems from worry, and at 2 am, without any daytime distractions, our minds can easily shift into overdrive. Many sleep experts recommend keeping a pen and pad on your night table or by your bed, so you can commit your worries to paper. No matter what you’re obsessing over, rather than ruminating, write it down. This takes the commotion out of your head so you can let it go, clearing your mind. Just make sure to keep the lights dim (or use a flashlight or nightlight) when jotting down notes, as bright light can disrupt your body clock.
4. Try getting out of bed
Many sleep specialists recommend getting out of bed after about 15 or 20 sleepless minutes (your best guesstimate, since you’re not looking at the clock, remember?). The more you lie in bed feeling frustrated, the more your brain associates the bedroom with not sleeping well, and the more you’ll come to anticipate sleeplessness the next time you’re there. Go to another room and try something relaxing, like listening to music or reading. A warm bath or shower may also help, as the change in body temperature before going back to a cool room should help get you drowsy.
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After 30 days, Unplug users report:
- Stress and anxiety levels improve by 39%
- Sleep quality improves by 32%
- Time taken to fall asleep reduces by 52%
- Getting out of bed in the morning becomes easier by 36%
Unplug is not a sleeping pill that just knocks you out for hours on end. It's a natural supplement that helps your body and mind relax by soothing the nervous system and promoting deep sleep. You should wake up feeling refreshed, not groggy like after taking a sleeping pill.