What To Do If You Can't Sleep

Anyone ever went to bed, but for some reason just can't switch their brain off? You lie there for what seems like hours tossing and turning and the thought of that early alarm only adds to the anxiety?

Here are some ideas that will help you get back to bed and get to sleep. 

Get Up And Read Or Journal

Sometimes the best thing we can do is avoid fighting the anxiety and actually get up and do something. I have found that reading something (preferably fictional) for 20-30 minutes can be a very useful way to help wind down. 

One of the main reasons a lot of people stay awake at night is because they have a hard time switching off. there is a never ending to do list or situational calculator spinning in their head. I have found that journaling or doing a "brain dump" is a very powerful way of taking the weight off my mind, allowing me to relax and go to sleep shortly after. 

Write down any worries, fears or even just how you are feeling at the moment. The exercise of noticing and naming what is going on allows the subconscious mind to process it all whilst you sleep. You may come up with a solution whilst you write or when you wake up. 

Eat Something Carb-Heavy

This one may sound a little controversial, but eating carb-heavy foods will actually help produce the feel-good hormone serotonin, which can make us feel sleepy. 

A personal favourite of mine is to heat up some porridge, add a touch of honey or a little vanilla whey protein and eat it slowly. I like to read something whilst I eat. 

When I feel full, I throw whatever I have not eaten away, and head to bed. I have found this one to be very effective, especially if I am hungry before bed and struggle to sleep.

I would avoid the ice cream or really sweet foods here as too much sugar can have the opposite effect and wake you up.  


Try A Nighttime Herbal Tea

I like to use this herbal tea by pukka. I will sit quietly and drink it slowly. After 10-15 minutes I will head to bed and usually, this does the trick. 

I will sometimes combine this with porridge. 

Try Counting Your Breaths To 10

I learned this one using Headspace. Try lying in a comfortable position, breath in through the nose, trying to let air fill up your belly and then breath out slowly through the mouth.

Every breath in counts as number one and when we breath out that will be number two. Breathe until yu get to a count of ten and then start again. 

I won't give you specific seconds as people can get worried about if they are getting the count right. Find a rhythm that works for you.

Breathing in through the nose activates your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and recovery). Many of us carry stress and tension in our upper neck and shoulders, so practising breathing through the belly allows are diaphragm to contract properly, teaches us to breathe naturally and relieves tension in the neck and shoulders.  

Yours In Health

Patrick Fallis

Founder of Leaner