Mental Health

7 Natural Things To Do When You Can’t Get To Sleep

Picture of a white unmade bed with a lamp and plant on the bedside table
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I. Can’t. Sleep. We’ve all been there.

There has been many nights where I’m left staring up at the ceiling and can’t go to sleep.

The more you think about not being able to get to sleep, the more your brain worries and, surprise surprise, the less able you are to actually get to sleep.

This post is some of the tried and tested solutions that I use to get to sleep.

Pin image for when you can't sleep. Unmade bed with blue background

Play Relaxing Music to Get to Sleep

Playing some calm music is a great way to get your mind into a relaxed state so that you can eventually drift off to sleep.

The two relaxing music apps that I have and use on my phone are Calm and RelaxMelodies.

With the Calm app, although you can be a premium member, there are a selection of free music that you can use for different functions. For example, there’s a sleep category and a meditation category. The music itself is also split into different categories e.g. nature, focus.

The Relax Melodies app is great as you can create your own sound.
For example, you can mix the sound of the ocean with some birds and a waterfall. This means that you can keep experimenting until you find a great mix that helps you drift off to sleep.

I also like playing relaxing music if I’m feeling anxious at the same time as trying to get to sleep. Even if I’m still not able to get to sleep this way, the relaxing music helps to calm down my anxiety.

Do Puzzle Books to Get to Sleep

Sometimes some brain training (who remembers that game?!) is a great way to tire your brain out and put you to sleep!

I love doing Sudoku and have a number of books purely for that.

Pick whatever kind of activity you like the best and look for a book with tonnes of your favourite puzzles in. That way, you can work through it until you’re too tired to concentrate.
Here a few that I have found: *Sudoku a Day, *The Times 2 Jumbo Crossword Book, *The Everything Giant Book of Word Searches

Listen to Podcasts to Get to Sleep

I really got into listening to Podcasts throughout 2018 and I hope to continue that into 2019.

Sometimes having someone talking makes it easier for your brain to block out all other thoughts.

There are specific sleeping or meditation podcasts that you can listen to – just give them a search.

Sometimes I like listening to blogging podcasts (like The Influencer Podcast, What She Said, and Make it Happen.)

Another of my favourites is the Ru Paul and Michelle Visage podcast – they talk about a variety of different topics and I sometimes like drifting off to sleep to one of these.

Read a Book to Get to Sleep

This is probably one you’ve heard many times but it does help!

The book that I have been reading recently is Michelle Obama’s *Becoming“. So far, I’m LOVING it! It’s a very easy read but it’s a great insight into Michelle’s life (am I allowed to call her Michelle?). She explores every aspect of her life that made her who she is today and it’s so inspiring!

I prefer to read books that don’t have too much of a gripping story line when I’m trying to get to sleep. I therefore stick to some non-fiction, a chick flick – that sort of thing.

If you have any book recommendations then please do leave them in the comments!

Picture of Michelle Obama's new book, Becoming

Play Mind Games to Get to Sleep

What are mind games you ask?

This may sound a bit odd, and won’t work for everyone.
BUT…I love coming up with some mind games in my head that will help me to drift off.

For example, I like to go through the alphabet and come up with girl and boy names for each letter. Or, I will go through the alphabet and try to come up with an animal for each letter.

There has been very few times that I will still be wide awake by the time I get to Z.

Use Breathing Techniques to Get to Sleep

You’ve maybe seen this before, but there is a special breathing technique that is supposed to relax your muscles and encourage you to drift off to sleep.

The technique is:
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
Breathe out through your mouth for 6 seconds.
Repeat.

I have used this technique before and it does actually surprise me how relaxed you feel after doing this for a few minutes.

TIP: This is also a great technique if you are feeling anxious.

Do Muscle Relaxation to Get to Sleep

This is something else that I have done a few times that helps my body to free itself up of all the tension I have gone to bed with.

This technique is especially useful if you’ve been sitting hunched at a desk all day, or perhaps did a workout during the day.

Basically, you lie in bed with your hands by your side, and work your way up your entire body tensing and relaxing the muscles.

So starting with your feet, you will tense them as much as you can (without getting cramp – trust me, this is quite easy to do) for around 5 seconds and then let go. Keep working your way up your entire body and you should feel a lot lighter and relaxed afterwards!


These are some of the techniques that I use to help me get to sleep when I’m staring up at the ceiling, watching the hours go by.

(2) Comments

  1. I love your tips! I often struggle to get to sleep, but found a great playlist of rain noises that helped me drift off. The only downside is that I have to wear earphones to do this so it can be a little annoying! A good book is always a good go to option as well, unless you get so hooked you have to read the next chapter! I think I will have to give the brain training puzzles a go! I miss doing logic problems so maybe that will ease me into the land of nod.

    Lauren 🙂 x

    1. Oh that’s great you’ve found some things that works! And I know, sometimes a great page-turner isn’t the best option😂
      Sometimes these things work but sometimes my brain isn’t up for sleeping so at least things pass the time a little too! X

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