What to Do When You Can't Sleep? 27 Soothing Things to Try

You have a big day tomorrow—but apparently your brain and body didn’t get the memo, because you’ve been tossing and turning for the last three hours. So what should you do when you can't sleep? Try one of these 27 soothing things that encourage rest. (Hmm, maybe you’ll even fall asleep while reading this.)

22 Things Only Insomniacs Understand

things to do when you can t sleep put on socks

1. Put On Socks.

One study says you’ll fall asleep faster if you have warm hands and feet. Hey, it’s worth a shot.

2. Visualize Your Childhood Home.

Imagine every detail of every wall, fireplace and Laura Ashley comforter. When you’re not thinking about the stresses of the day, you’ll drift off faster.

3. Turn Off Your Phone And Computer.

Don’t worry: There’s nothing happening on Instagram at 1 a.m. Yes, for the entire night.

4. Read A Book.

Might we suggest one of these books? Five pages in and you’ll feel your lids starting to get heavy.

5. Set Your Thermostat Between 65 And 68 Degrees.

That’s the sweet spot for a good night’s rest, according to this study.

6. Sleeping With A Snoring Spouse?

Build a wall of pillows around your head to block out the noise.

things to do when you can t sleep hide your alarm clock

7. Hide Your Alarm Clock.

Yep, watching the clock will keep you up. Do this so you can’t see it’s 3:17 a.m. Oops, now it’s 3:18.

8. Kick Your Pets Out Of The Room.

Should your cat or dog sleep in bed with you? We would have to say not if he’s a bed hog or scratching his tail all night.

9. And Your Kids.

Better then pets, but still guaranteed to kick you in the middle of night and wake you out of your REM cycle.

10. …and Then Shut And Lock Your Door.

See the last two list items. So no pets or kids can come in until your alarm rings. Duh.

11. Try Lying On A Sleep Induction Mat.

It’s like a spiky yoga mat that stimulates an endorphin release and then relaxes you to sleep.

things to do when you can t sleep write a list

12. Write A List.

Include everything you’re worrying about. It’ll still be there when you wake up in the morning, we promise.

13. Change Into Your Comfiest Pjs.

No synthetic fabrics or itchy tags allowed.

14. Create A New Storyline For A Show.

You can do this in your mind.For Game of Thrones perhaps? (Just don’t make it too exciting or you’ll be up for days.)

15. Lift The Ban On Electronics.

Just for a sec and download Calm, a mindfulness meditation app that supplies soothing sounds like rainfall and crashing waves to drown out distracting noises.

16. Instead Of Sheep, Count Your Breaths.

In sets of three (“1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3…”). You’ll be out before you know it.

17. Try Some Stretching.

Yoga With Adreine on Youtube has an amazing (and free) bedtime sequence that’s designed to melt away stress.

18. Put On A Sleep Mask.

You’ve probably already drawn the blinds, but this will block out that annoying little blinking light on your computer, too.

19. Get Up And Take A Warm Bath.

A ten-minute soak will relax your muscles and induce sleep.

20. Grab Another Blanket.

Head to the closet so you don’t have to play comforter tug-of-war with your snoozing significant other.

21. Dab Lavender Essential Oil On Your Pillow.

The flowering plant has been scientifically shown to temporarily slow down your heart rate and lower blood pressure.

things to do when you can t sleep swap out your pillow

22. Swap Out Your Pillow.

Or just the pillowcase. Your current one might be harboring irritating allergens that are keeping you up.

23. Get Up And Walk Around The House.

Only for about 10 minutes—not enough to raise your heart rate, but enough to expel any lingering energy that’s keeping you up.

24. Make A Cup Of Chamomile Tea.

And maybe come up with a few more Game of Thrones storylines while you sip it slowly.

25. Eat Two Kiwis.

They are a natural source of melatonin, so you should be snoozin’ soon.

26. Try Muscle Isolation.

Slowly concentrate on tensing, then releasing each muscle in your body, starting with your feet and working all the way up to your head. You’ll release any additional stress you might have been carrying throughout the day.

27. Be Kind To Yourself.

So you might have to sneak in a nap at work tomorrow. Or you might have to spend the day totally cranky. The sooner you accept it and stop worrying about the outcome, the sooner you’ll drift off to sleep. Zzzzzz…

Feeling Frustrated? Take a Nap

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.