Why Can’t I Sleep? Tips & Tricks

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

Millions of people throughout the world struggle with insomnia and sleeping disorders, if you’re one of them, this guide was made for you! Are you asking yourself why can’t I sleep at night? With the right approach, you can fall asleep within a matter of minutes and forget about your mind racing and your body tossing and turning all night.

Studies show that relaxation positively affects both the mind and body, turning it into one of the key aspects for falling asleep with ease.

If you try and reduce the stress that comes with your day-to-day life, you might find yourself drifting off to sleep peacefully. Many methods can help with sleep problems, and our step-by-step guide will show you how to do so. And with time you can customize them to fit your specific needs.

Why Can’t I Sleep

Key Elements to Encourage Relaxation

Meditative practices for relaxation have become a focus of scientific research in the last couple of years. That study has identified the key elements for fostering the relaxation response. They are the following:

Environment

When we talk about the environment, we mainly mean noises and surroundings. Your bedroom doesn’t have to be completely silent. For example, having a white noise machine can be quite beneficial. However, you should try to avoid abrasive sounds or noises in your sleeping area.

Position

The place you use to relax is essential, and often it is within your bed’s comforts. The best way to do so is to lay down and find the most comfortable position for you. Different people sleep in different positions, so find the one that works best for you and make sure you have the appropriate bedding for it.

Focus

Sometimes we go to bed tried but continue thinking about our external concerns, which stops us from falling asleep. Therefore, you should try and avoid that by drawing your attention into a word, phrase, mantra, breathing pattern, or mental image so that you can easily drift off.

Attitude

We have all let our minds wander, and we have to understand that this is normal, but we can put them at ease if we try to draw our focus back to the object of our attention.

If you try to follow these four methods, you are on your way to calmly fall asleep!

Techniques to Help you Fall Asleep

Techniques to Help you Fall Asleep

When it’s time for bed, go lay down and try one of these techniques to put yourself at ease so that you can peacefully fall into slumber.

Breathing

Controlled breathing in a series of slow, deep breaths can implement a sense of calm throughout your body. It’s also known as pranayama breathing, which is believed to help reduce stress in your nervous system and that way prepare your brain for sleep.

There are many breathing methods you can try, such as: the 4-7-8 breathing technique, the Three-part breathing exercise, the Diaphragmatic breathing exercise or the Papworth method.

However, our favourite is Dr Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 method, which we’ll try to explain further. You should start by pacing the tip of your tongue near the ridge behind your front two teeth, and you will have to hold it there through this breathing exercise.

Next, you have to close your mouth and slowly inhale through your nose to the count of four. Then it’s time for you to hold your breath and count to seven. After that, you should open up your mouth and exhale deeply by counting to eight. Remember that you may hear a whooshing sound, nothing wrong it’s happening because of your tongue’s placement.

If you repeat this cycle three more times, your body will most likely have calmed down so you can get the much-needed rest. Take advantage of controlled breathing to help your mind and body relax!

Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are centred around slow, steady breathing and focusing on the moment. The Natinal Institute of Health issued an article about the matters of mindfulness and how it can reduce your anxiety while having incredible health benefits.

Just like controlled breathing, there are many variations of mindfulness meditation. They can all be used for different situations, but the one that stood out to us was the Body Scan Meditation.

This is an easy to use style in which you have to start by slowly inhaling and exhaling at a comfortable for you pace. Next, you have to concentrate on your body and its position on the bed. Try to focus on the sensations that go through your legs and feet. After that, you can continue observing, from your legs up to your head and allow yourself to feel it all.

Your main goal is to keep in touch with your body and letting each part of it relax. Don’t judge your self, just reflect and breathe! Some individuals might need time to get used to it, so you need to give it time and be consistent. Anyone can spare five minutes per day for their health.

Muscle Relaxation

Muscle Relaxation

Another great option for you to try is progressive muscle relaxation since it creates a calming effect throughout your body by tightening and releasing muscles.

Start by closing your eyes and slowly breathe in and out. First, try to tense the muscles on your face, such as lips, eyes, and jaw. Continue doing it for 10 seconds, then release your muscles and breathe in and out. Next are you shoulders, tense them for 10 seconds as well and then release again.

You have to repeat the process of tensing and relaxing with the following body parts: upper arms, lower arms, hands, back, stomach, buttocks, hamstrings, calves and feet. However, if any area causes you pain, you can skip it.

This is a beneficial technique for people with insomnia. If done correctly, it can relieve pain for individuals with arthritis and other forms of physical pain, but PMR isn’t recommended for people with uncontrolled cardiovascular problems.

Imagery

For many, this won’t be considered a technique, but visualizing a peaceful image in detail will engage your mind and your attention.

The easiest way to start is by closing your eyes closed and placing yourself in a comfortable position. Then it would be best if you thought about a place or experience that feels relaxing and maybe even quite. When you do so, your breathing will slow down, and you can start reflecting on the details of this setting.

You have to continue focusing on this image and try to add as many details as possible. Maybe add something that can relate to all your senses like touch, smell, taste and sound. Let yourself experience the calmness of this mental imagery.

Are there downsides to the Techniques?

Are there downsides to the Techniques?

This is a question that depends on the individual doing these relaxation techniques. It’s rare for negative consequences to occur, but it can sometimes provoke anxiety for a small number of people. For example, they can imagine imagery that’s not relaxing and think about a stressful event in their life.  

We aren’t professionals, so the advice we can give you is to talk with an expert or a doctor to receive specific advice if you have any concerns about trying these methods.

What if I still can’t fall asleep?

Those methods might not work in some situations, and if you find yourself lying in bed without being able to fall asleep for over 20 minutes, get up. Movea little, go to another part of your house or apartment and try to do something that soothes you.

Maybe get a glass of warm milk or make some chamomile tea to relax. Laying in bed for hours, without sleeping isn’t healthy, and that’s why you should not stay in your bed, so your mind doesn’t connect it with your sleep issues.

Pre-Bedtime Tips to Help you Fall Asleep

Pre-Bedtime Tips to Help you Fall Asleep

The possibility of you having a good night’s rest doesn’t only depend on your bed. You have to think about your routine and sleep schedule just as much. Here are some tips and tricks that can help your body and mind to prepare to fall asleep:

  • Have a consistent sleep schedule and follow it, if you can’t keep track of you wake-up time and such, get yourself a sleep diary to identify trends that could be throwing off your nightly rest.
  • Don’t forget to wind down at least 30 minutes before bed. You can do that by reading a book, meditating or and other relaxing activities.
  • Leave all electronic devices an hour before bed, because they use blue light, which stimulates the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Don’t forget to exercise regularly. Physical activity benefits the body in many, and one of them is providing you with better sleep.
  • Consider a white noise machine and maybe even a calming scent, like lavender essential oils.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals, nor drink alcohol and caffeine before bed.
  • If your sleeping issues are worsening, you should go and see a doctor, so they can identify the problem and recommend a solution with optimal treatment.
  • Take a look at your thermostat and make sure your bedroom is set to a cooler temperature since it will be easier for you to sleep when you’re not hot.
  • Find yourself a comfortable pyjama set and use your curtains to block the light, so it doesn’t wake you up the next morning.

Final Words

Sometimes getting up for a short while can help if you have trouble falling asleep, but you can’t do that every night. That’s why if you have trouble falling asleep, you should try and train your body to wind down and relax. You can do so with all the techniques and tips we’ve talked about in this guide.

We hope that we could at least get you one step closer to having a better night’s sleep. However, please keep in mind that we are non-professionals in the medical field, and these are only our recommendations.

But if you have any questions that were left unanswered regarding the subject, we would love to hear them in the comments below.

Tim Woods
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