You’re exhausted. All you want is the comfort of your bed. But you get there and bam…you can’t sleep. You stare up at the ceiling.
Maybe you can’t turn off your brain. Maybe all the things you need to do the next day are running through your mind.
Maybe, if you’re like me, all the things you’re worried about feel like crushing mountains of anxiety. (Everything seems worse at night, by the way.)
Here are some things that help me when I’m struggling to fall asleep.
Turn Off Your Phone: I never realized how much that effected me until I read an article (probably on my phone, late at night) about how the lights of the phone, tablets, television keep our minds active and moving. That constant stimulation makes it difficult for us to just “shut if off” when we set the electronic device on our nightstand and expect to fall asleep within a few moments. It’s recommended that you keep your eyes off those electronics at least thirty minutes before you hope to go to sleep.
Try a Warm Drink or Shower (Or Both): That warmth just makes me ready to sleep. It’s comforting and soothing and a shower or bath always seems to feel like it’s washing away stress. I’m a big tea drinker so that too is something that calms and comforts me. Try either or both just a bit before bedtime and see if it helps make you feel drowsy.
Read: Reading also helps relax my brain. I’m still thinking of course and reading and comprehending, but it’s more of a relaxing, low-key activity and sometimes the words of even an excellent book will lull me into sleep.
Pray: Of course this seems simple, right? Remember bedtime prayers as a child? But if your brain simply won’t settle down, and worry and anxiety have gotten the best of you, pray. Quote scripture. Lay down your burdens at His capable feet and let them stay there. Envision yourself doing just that and claim the promise that whoever is weary and burdened will be given rest.
Lavender: I’ve gotten into essential oils in the past few months. While I’m not loyal to any specific brand and don’t sell oils, I do really like lavender. I learned that rubbing some on the bottoms of my feet, then applying socks, just before bed really calms me. Without fail, it helps me relax and sleep better than when I don’t do this. It’s worth a try if you haven’t attempted it yet, and it smells divine.
Read the Bible: Pull out all those verses that give you comfort, the ones that speak specifically about worry, burdens, rest, and anxiety. Read them over and over. My Mom used tell me to read the Psalms when I was upset, worried or couldn’t sleep. Just pick one, any one, and start reading, she’d say.
Relax: If only! But you’ve probably heard of the relaxation technique where you start relaxing each muscle in your body. Lay still and concentrate on your toes, then your feet, then your calves, then your knees, then on up to your head. Recognize every muscle and relax it. Pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in and out and relax each part of you. You might even be sleeping before you can complete the process.
Sleep is so important. If you struggle to sleep, maybe something more is at hand and you need to seek the advice of your medical doctor. If we don’t get enough sleep, we simply cannot function like we need to. I hope tonight you have sweet dreams.
What do you try when you can’t sleep? If you try any of these tips, please let me know how they worked for you!
(Psst! Speaking of sleep, don’t forget to spring ahead next Saturday night!)
Meet Melanie P. :
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. She is busy with her work in progress, her first nonfiction book. Melanie contributes to Sonoma Christian Home and has been featured on BlogHer.com and published on Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, Breathe Writers Conference blog, and various other blogs as a guest writer. She is a volunteer at Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. Having worked in the medical field for nearly two decades, Melanie recently “retired” so she could concentrate on her family and writing career. She is also a substitute teacher. Besides writing, Melanie loves to read, travel, enjoys hockey, playing piano, listening to music, helping and encouraging others, speaking on Periscope, volunteering, movies, and hanging out and cheering on her very favorite people: her family. Melanie lives in west Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie and beabrador Lillie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”