If you’re not getting enough sleep, every part of your body suffers. Your metabolism slows down, you have difficulty concentrating and remembering things, and your quality of life deteriorates. Not being able to fall asleep at night can be extremely frustrating. So if you find yourself staring at the ceiling hours after you lay down, it could be due to an unhealthy sleep routine.

Here are eight things you should do if you can’t fall asleep:

1. Redo Your Bedroom

You may not put this one at the top of the list, but bedroom changes can have a profound influence on your sleep. For example, according to sleep experts, your bedroom should be dark and kept at a cool temperature for a good night’s sleep. Rework your environment to give you a better night’s rest. Buy blackout curtains, a fan or an eye mask to help create the perfect sleep environment.

2. Limit Your Caffeine

Coffee, nicotine, pop and other stimulants can keep you awake for hours longer than you intended. Once caffeine enters the body, it takes about 12 hours to exit your system. A cup of coffee in the morning might be a great way to kick-start your day, but make sure you’re not drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or evening.

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3. Exercise During The Day

Exercising can help relieve stress, give you energy during the day and help you sleep better at night. Your workout doesn’t have to be super intense. Go for a brisk walk, a bike ride, a hike or a light jog. Plan your workout for earlier in the day. A vigorous workout four hours or less before bedtime can have a negative effect on sleep quality.

4. Limit Your Naps

Naps are great. But they can hinder the quality of your sleep. Taking a long nap during the day can disrupt your normal sleep/wake cycle. Sleep experts say that between 20 and 30 minutes is the ideal time for a nap to help improve alertness, mood and performance.

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5. Ditch The Alcohol Before Bed

Contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol before bed doesn’t help you sleep better. It might knock you out initially, but while you sleep your REM quality decreases and your non-REM increases, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. A few drinks before bed will leave you feeling groggy throughout the next day.

6. Follow A Regular Bedtime Routine

A regular routine at night helps prepare your body for bed. Do some light reading, take a bubble bath, meditate or do yoga. Stay away from anything electronic like playing video games or watching T.V. The bright lights from electronics will impair your sleep quality.

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7. Get Some Sun

Many Americans are stuck in an office for eight hours a day. By the time they leave work to head home, it’s dark outside. Getting outside during the day can help put you in a better mood, relieve stress and improve your sleep quality. If you work in an office all day, take a walk outside during your break or eat lunch at an outdoor cafe.

8. Stay Away From Certain Foods

There are certain foods you should stay away from before bed, such as foods that might promote indigestion or heartburn. Carbonated drinks, heavy foods, fried foods and citrus all fit this description. Eat a lighter dinner consisting of fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat if you’re having trouble falling asleep.


Sleep Foundation