13 Things to do when you can't sleep

13 Things to do when you can't sleep

If you find your mind racing and active just in time for bed, trust us, this blog is for you.  

The mind and body should be relaxed for you to fall asleep within minutes. However, it is difficult to completely relax if your mind is stressed. 

Everyone will occasionally experience difficulty falling asleep. And yet, sleep isn't optional; it is essential. A good and full sleep allows the body to function normally the following day. It can be frustrating to not be able to get to sleep fast or even experiencing a bad night. The following morning, symptoms like grumpiness, grogginess, and irritation affect everyone around us. 

Should you find yourself wide awake just in time for bed, we have a list of things you can do apart from trying to get some sleep:

1. Journal

Write, a journal, and record your feelings. Planning and overthinking while lying down in bed causes exhaustion. Journaling helps reduce stress and improves the quality of life. If you find yourself stuck, you can use a journal prompter, to start. 

2. Organizing

Any kind of organizing reduces mental stress. A clean and serene home brings calm to the mind.  

3. Clean 

A lot of times, cleaning, decluttering, and dusting reduces stress. Cleaning is a great distraction and may even clear your head. 

4. Complete a project

Something on your mind? Instead of tossing and turning, getting up and completing a pending project might bring a sense of calm if you are the kind of person who checks off an item on the to-do list. 

5. Make a list

Instead of stressing, getting up and writing down your tasks, be it personal or professional, might help. Putting everything on paper will put your mind at ease. 

6. Reading

When you find your mind racing, leave the bedroom and start reading your favorite book or magazine. Reading distracts your mind from other things. If you use a tablet or an E-book, ensure your display is on dark mode. 

7. Essential Oils

Diffuse sleep-inducing oils like lavender. Research suggests that some active compounds in Lavender help turn off your sympathetic nervous system and activates your parasympathetic nervous system. Lavender also helps regulate GABA, a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve signals in the brain. High levels of GABA promote body relaxation. 

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for stress, and the parasympathetic system helps you relax. 

You can even try dabbing oil on your wrists, behind your ears, neck, and pillow. Take mindful breaths after application. 

Other essential oils that you can use are valerian, chamomile, bergamot, sage, and cedarwood. 

8. Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

If you haven't tried a progressive muscle relaxation technique to instantly feel less stressed, you must try it. This technique reduces tension and declutters the mind from stressful thoughts. 


  • Lie on your back
  • Start by tensing the facial muscles for 10 seconds and allow them to relax.
  • Work your way down tensing muscle groups one by one until you reach your toes.
  • Take deep and calming breaths 

9. Coloring 

Grab a coloring book and colored pencils and start coloring. Coloring lowers stress and improves sleep.

10. Meditation 

It is well known that mindfulness meditation for sleep and anxiety can have multiple health benefits like reducing worry and anxiety and having the ability to relax. Analyzing good and bad thoughts while also letting go of thoughts about what happened or what could happen. 

Relaxation meditation for sleep can help you go a long way in keeping the mind calm. 

11. Breathing 

Deep breathing techniques helps a great deal. Try the 4-7-8 technique. 


  • Inhale for 4 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  • Exhale for 8 seconds.
  • Repeat a few times until you find yourself relaxed.

12. Herbal Tea

A warm cup of herbal tea is an excellent way to relax after a long day. Herbal teas are great for promoting sleep because they don't have caffeine in them. You can try your luck with chamomile or lavender. 

If you are not a tea person, a warm cup of milk works well too. Nutrients in milk help increase melatonin production, known as the sleep hormone. 

Melatonin promotes sleep and relaxes the nerves. Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm or the sleep-awake process in the body. Once the body is exposed to light, the production of this hormone is the least, and when the lights are switched off or its night time, the production is the highest. 

13. Stretches

Some low-intensity stretching exercises relieve muscle tension and distracts the mind from the body from stressful thoughts. Avoid intense physical activity last night; it causes the mind and body to be alert instead of relaxed. 

The Bottom Line

Being anxious about not being able to sleep might just be the cause a sleepless night. What's more important is to figure out what's on your mind, and try focusing on something else to calm your mind. 

Also, remember a mattress can directly impact sleep and an ideal mattress differs for each person depending on various factors. Test a mattress out, and ensure it is comfortable in the position you like sleep the most. Ideally, a mattress should support you where you need it the most without putting too much pressure on the body. 

Visit your nearest Mancini's Sleepworld to try various mattress brands and pick a mattress that suits your body type. Our Sleep Specialists will take you a step closer to perfect sleep.

October 04, 2022