Stop eyeing the clock
It’s easy to keep glancing at the clock to see how much time you have left to try to get some shut-eye, but doing that will all but guarantee you won’t fall back asleep.
“Those that watch the time while trying to facilitate sleep only increase their inability to fall asleep,” Sharon M. O’Brien, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, wrote for Clinical Advisor. “If a patient feels as though they have been lying in bed for a long time, advise them to get up and go to another room until they feel tired again, but emphasize that checking the time is not important.”
Practice deep breathing
To help you doze off, you can try a breathing technique from Dr. Andrew Weil. A Harvard University Medical School grad, Weil is a physician and spokesperson for holistic health and integrative medicine practices.
The Alaska Sleep Education Center reported he teaches the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, also called the Relaxing Breath, which can naturally relax your nervous system.
Here’s a video explaining how to do it.
Listen to music
Calming doesn’t only benefit babies, according to the Sleep Foundation. One study found that adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep were found to have improved sleep quality as soon as the first night. Participants also reported having better sleep the more frequently they fused music into their routine each night.
Write down what’s bothering you
Schedule time to get your worries out of your brain and onto paper.
Take 15-30 minutes every night to scribble your concerns on a notepad. Do so at least one or two hours before bedtime. That way, you won’t remain awake with anxious feelings.
“Ideal sleep depends on creating routines and schedules, and this is no different,” Dr. Lawrence Chan, clinical assistant professor of sleep medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, told Everyday Health.
Get out of bed
This step may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re spending more than 20 minutes lying down and still struggling to go back to sleep, it’s better to get up.
The Cleveland Clinic cites sleep specialists’ recommendations to leave your bed and take a short walk. That can also get your brain focused on something other than your worries, which could be keeping you awake.