So, it's getting late, and you're still staring at your ceiling wishing you could sleep. You can't stop thinking about how you have work or school early in the morning, and you'll only get 6 hours and 22—stop. Deep breath. Now follow these tips to help you fall asleep!
Podcasts are a great way to lull yourself to sleep. There are many different podcasts out there that are meant to help you sleep. There are a few styles to choose from so make sure to look around your podcast app to see what works best for you. The great thing about podcasts is that you don't have to have your phone screen on, adding unnecessary light to your room.
One podcast that I recommend is "Sleep With Me," where an older sounding gentleman "Scooter" rambles on for about an hour. It's engaging enough to keep your mind from overthinking, but dull enough to let you easily fall asleep.
Meditation has been used forever to help people relax and clear their minds. It can also be helpful to help you fall asleep. You can try to meditate on your own with simple music in the background. Slowly breathe in and out, and try not to let your mind wander.
If you prefer guidance, there are many guided meditations out there geared towards helping you fall asleep. Just download an app available to you on the app store and a calm voice will guide you through proper breathing, relaxing muscles, and helping you drift off into dreamland.
Onto the last suggestion of the bunch that includes sounds. There are plenty of apps, YouTube videos, and even podcasts that consist of nature sounds. Do you like the sound of rain? The ocean? A campfire? Just pick what sounds make you feel relaxed and get settled in.
One advantage of using an app for these sounds is that often apps will let you pick and choose what sounds you want in your soundtrack. Want rain, a fire, thunder, but no wind? Totally possible. Pick your mix of sounds and enjoy.
A nice warm drink such as tea (pick a tea with no caffeine in it!!) can be very relaxing. The delicious scents and warm liquid can be incredibly relaxing. There are teas that are made specifically to help you fall asleep, like sleepy time tea. Other good suggestions for nighttime tea include chamomile, lavender, and valerian. Get cozy and sip your favorite tea, letting the warmth envelope you and help you nod off.
Make your bed.
How are you going to be relaxed if your bed isn't comfy? If you're having a hard time sleeping, get up and make sure your bed is comfortable. Blankets and pillows set up how you like them? Check. Grab an extra soft blanket? Check. Do whatever you need to do to make your bed a comfy little nest for you to cuddle up and get comfy in.
Stop checking the time.
Seriously, stop. I know it can be tempting to see what time it is so you can count down to the minute how much sleep you'll get if you fall asleep RIGHT NOW. But you really aren't doing yourself any favors. Watching the time tick by minute by minute when you can't sleep can become stressful and anxiety-inducing. Another minute awake, one less minute of sleep. All that stress and worry about not getting enough sleep could actually be what's keeping you up! Put down the phone, turn your clock around, whatever you need to do. Take a deep breath and relax, and stop stressing about it. If you can't see the time, it's easier to chill out about it and let yourself relax.
Keep a notebook by your bed.
If you're anything like me, as soon as the lights are turned off and your head hits the pillow, a bunch of "super great" ideas pop into your head that you don't want to forget. Instead of obsessing about it and keeping yourself up, keep a notebook by your bed. That way when you have these thoughts, ideas, and things you need to do, you can just write them down and then not have to worry. You'll remember them for the morning when you can deal with it then. A positive of using a notebook as well is that it doesn't emit any pesky light that will wake you up more like your phone does.
A lot of people have smells that they find relaxing: some calming lavender, soothing cedarwood, or refreshing peppermint. Thankfully with essential oils, you can put a couple drops in your diffuser and soon your room will be smelling of sweet dreams. The best thing is that you can mix different oils together to get the perfect blend of smells for you.
As a note, while good smells can definitely help you sleep, please don't light a candle. Because if it does work and you happen to fall asleep, that's just a major fire hazard.
If All Else Fails
If all else fails, get up and try again later. Read a book in some warm, non-harsh light while you sip some tea. Listen to a podcast. Take a relaxing warm bath. If you really can't sleep, moping about in bed being upset about it isn't going to help you. Just get up and do something calming, and when you feel tired go back to bed and try again, and hopefully getting into bed will signal to your body that it's time to sleep. Avoid any strenuous activities, bright lights, or loud noises.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you get an idea of how to relax enough to fall asleep. But even if you've tried all of these tips and still can't sleep, just know you aren't alone, and tomorrow is a new night to try again.