How To Fall Asleep (When You Can’t Fall Asleep)

Those nights where you’re wide awake and can’t fall asleep are the worst. Especially when you know you have to be up early, and then that just stresses you out/frustrates you even more, making it harder to fall asleep.

Some nights it is just so hard for me to fall asleep. I’ll either be stressed, or have a million things on my mind, or just am not able to get comfortable. Last night I had a lot on my mind about my social media clients and a presentation I’m doing this week…my dreams were all about Twitter and me talking about what time I should tweet things (??!!). 

So I wanted to write something with tips that have helped me fall asleep in the past, as well as tips and facts I have found online. Hopefully it helps you next time you’re tossing and turning!

how-to-fall-asleepPhoto Credit: ubon via Compfight cc

Here are some things that help me:

  • Cover your head with a pillow. Someone once told me that when you can’t fall asleep, cover your head or put on a knitted cap and it will help you fall asleep. Not sure of the scientific legitimacy of this, but I’ve found that when I do this it does help me relax more. Actually, I just Googled it and it seems it is a common thing babies to do fall asleep (which makes for nervous parents I’m sure). Try it next time!
  • Switch sides of the bed. Sometimes when I really can’t sleep, I switch positions so where my feet were, my head now is. Not sure why this helps either.
  • Change locations. Go sleep on the couch!
  • Keep a notebook by your bed. If you know you have a lot on your mind right before you go to bed, keep a notebook there so you can scribble it all down. When I don’t have a notebook by me, I’m worried I’ll forget my idea or to-do list, which means more trouble falling asleep.
  • Go pee. This is random, but sometimes I don’t feel like I have to pee, but I go to the bathroom and lo and behold, I had to empty my bladder. You might be tossing and turning because your bladder is full (just not to the point where you “feel” like you have to go).

I also did some research and found some other tips, which you may or may not have known about already.

This tip from the Huffington Post kind of goes along with my change locations one, but actually suggest you get out of bed and do something. I’ve done that a few times, but not actually out of bed. I just grab a book and read until I get drowsy. I feel like cleaning would wake me up more? 

If you’re unable to sleep for about a 15- or 20-minute stretch, slip into your bunny slippers and out of the room. Try something relaxing and non-stimulating. Listen to music. Read a book. Even consider cleaning the house or doing the dishes, Olson suggests. A bath might do the trick, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, because sleepiness can brew from the post-bath drop in body temperature. Whatever activity you choose, do it away from bed, and return when you’re feeling drowsy.

Here’s an interesting one from Lifehacker:

Get 7-9 of night time hours a night. So, for example, if sunrise is at 6am, then sleeping from 2am—10am is eight total hours, but it’s only four night time hours. Sleeping at night is a big deal.

My mom always lectures me on how going to sleep at 2am and getting 8 hours isn’t the same as 8 quality hours of sleep (going to bed earlier). I remember also reading somewhere that athletes who want quality sleep go to bed before midnight, and the later after midnight you go to bed, the less quality sleep you will get. Sigh – guess mom was right again!

I like this tip too from Lifehacker:

Start a bedtime journaling habit. Go over what you’ve accomplished that day, what problems you’ve had and make your to-do list for the next day. This puts your mind at ease, ensuring a worry free rest.

I started doing this a few months ago and fell off with it. I remember in middle school I used to keep a diary…oh the things I wrote…

But anyway, I should really get back into it. It feels good to write out your feelings and worries, and then look back and realize how trivial some of them really were.

I try to get minimum 8 hours of sleep a night, but aim for 8.5-9. My bf and friends know how important sleep is to me :) If I get something like 6 hours, I’m an absolute zombie the next day.

What tips would you add to my list?

How many hours of sleep do you get per night?


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  1. I get about 6 hours of sleep a night. It’s not enough. I’m really trying to work on going to bed earlier, since I can’t change my wakeup time.

    Something that works for me to fall asleep is an eye mask. It blocks out all the light which can be distracting when trying to sleep.
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted…Staying at Turtle Bay – Our Trip to the North ShoreMy Profile

  2. My sleep is all over the place now that a baby’s in the house. I have to admit though, I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep. So frustrating! Once I’m out though, I’m ooouuutttttt.
    Tiff @ Love, Sweat, & Beers recently posted…Breaking Bread with La Brea BakeryMy Profile

  3. thank you for the tips, lately i been having troubles with falling asleep, so i should try this. I will use a knitted hat and will sleep with my head where my feet normally are

  4. I can’t do a pillow, but I can do eye masks and that sometimes helps. For me, I will also put some low music on, a fan, and take a melatonin and this usually helps. And if really having a hard time, counting backward from 100. :)

    • the low music is a good tip, I forgot about that! I actually did that the other night bc I couldn’t fall asleep. Found some relaxing “rain sounds” lol


  1. […] hours of sleep the night before. I could not fall asleep for the life of me. I even tried following my own sleeping tips. Nothing worked. At least I wasn’t going for a PR or anything or else I’d be even more […]

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