4 Tips to Do When You Can't Sleep

Last Updated on September 27, 2023

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

No matter how great of a sleeper you may be there will always be that one night of torture that will keep you from a peaceful slumber. Questioning what to do when you can’t sleep is an age-old query that many continue to seek the answer to. Insomnia can be caused by many things such as illness, an overactive mind, and even something as simple as having poor bedtime routines.

When spending one-third of your life in bed it is important to have a mattress that is ready to lull you to sleep. You should replace the mattress if it is showing its age with springs sticking at you and a sagging middle. Make sure you have a bed that is perfect for you; one that is neither too firm nor too soft.

Tips to Combat Your Sleep Issues

I: Dim the Lights & Get in a Comfortable Environment

II: Keep a Journal Next to Your Bed

III: Keep Yourself on a Regular Schedule

IV: Extra Tips When You Can’t Sleep

Not sleeping can be a detriment to living a happy and productive life. Many different factors can lead to a problem with sleeping. Health, stress, depressions can all cause insomnia. Sleepless nights can be occasionally, or weeks, even months, on end. It is important to understand your problem and what is causing sleepless nights. A doctor can help you to understand causes and how to rectify them in order to lead to a fitful sleep

Having Trouble Falling Asleep?

Nothing like being exhausted and plopping into bed only to lie there with eyes wide open. A wife’s tale states that not being able to fall asleep means you are awake in another’s dream. Whether true or not, watching the clock tick time away can be frustrating. On a more serious note, heart disease, hypertension, and type two diabetes have all been found to contribute to the inability to fall asleep.

Can’t Get Back To Sleep?

Falling asleep at first may be easy for you but then in the week hours of the morning you find yourself suddenly awake tossing and turning. This is often due to an overactive mind and stress. Daytime problems on your mind are working to wake you up to worry.

Waking Up Too Early?

As sleep continues throughout the night rapid eye movement (REM) sleep becomes more frequent, especially towards morning hours. With sleep apnea being more prominent during REM cycles it could be the cause of breathing problems wakening the body in the early hours of the morning.

I: Dim the Lights & Get in a Comfortable Environment

In the hour before bed dim the inside house lights to make the environment more soothing. Turn the world off about 30 minutes before bedtime. Instead of looking at the smart phone, pick up a book to read.

Breathing exercises can be productive in aiding sleep. The 4-7-8 breathing technique has proved to help with falling asleep. Take four seconds to breath in through the nose, then hold for seven seconds, and breath out through the mouth for eight. Keep repeating until you drift off to lullaby land.

No more counting sheep, instead counting backwards from 1000 has been shown to help. Instead of simply counting backwards, work your mind by counting back in groups of three. This will take the place in the mind of any worried thoughts that may be keeping you awake.

Take time to practice some yoga guides by YouTube video mavens who know the moves to help render peaceful nights of sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has found that 55 percent of yoga practitioners have reported enhanced sleep quality.

II: Keep a Journal Next to Your Bed

Often we are awoken with a sudden thought of something that needs to be done the next day. Instead of just dwelling on the fact that you cannot sleep, keep a journal next to the bed so you can right down thoughts. This way you will now be able to fall back to sleep knowing that you have a note to remind you of what is needed to be accomplished in the morning.

Often the stresses of the day wake us during the night. Instead of lying awake worrying take control of the situation. if it is just a quick email that needs responding to, or watering the wilting plant that you have been neglecting, get up and take a moment to do the simple tasks. You will then be able to fall back to sleep knowing that these things have been accomplished.

Waking suddenly and not falling back to sleep will only cause more tossing and turning while the time clicks away. Instead of staying in bed get up and go into the living room to sit in a comfy place with low light. Do something calming like reading a book or listening to calm music.

Still cannot fall back to sleep then consider getting up to do that vacuuming or dusting you have put off. A couple of mundane housekeeping tasks may be all you need to clear the mind and drift back to sleep.

Make sure the room in cool. Being too hot will wake the body up in discomfort. Stick your feet out from under the covers. Open the window on a cool night or make sure you have a good fan or proper air conditioning. Science research suggests that the best temperature for sleeping is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit so aim for that.

III: Keep Yourself on a Regular Schedule

Keep yourself on schedule. Even if sleep has eluded you, make sure that you rise at the same time each morning. This will get your body on a sleep schedule eventually preventing you from rising too early.

Keep the room dark. Waking early also can mean seeing the sun beaming in as it rises. Have black out curtains on the windows. Keep a sleep mask next to the bed to wear all night long or to put on if waking before you intend to.

Address any sleep apnea issues you may have with your doctor. There are appliances that can be prescribed to help with this problem and rectify REM behavior disorder.

IV: Extra Tips When You Can't Sleep

Although some may state no TV at all in the bedroom, having the TV on can actually help some get to sleep and stay asleep. Play an old TV show that is comforting and you know well. This can keep the mind on something other than daily worries, and aid in good thoughts that will help in getting to sleep and staying asleep.

Do all you can do from having a snoring bed partner keep you up at night. Make sure that he or she is rolled over on the side away from you. You can use tricks like attaching a tennis ball to the back of his or her sleep shirt to train them to stay put on the side and not roll back over to the back.


Insomnia is not fun, tossing as you figure out what to do when you can’t sleep can be beyond frustrating. The number one item to combat on your quest to sleep is to make sure you have the most comfortable of mattresses. A great mattress is the right platform to help you drift off to dreamland and stay there for the night. Most people prefer a memory foam mattress with a medium, or universal, firmness. Determining how much sleep do you need ultimately depends on individual needs and age, no matter how bad the insomnia is.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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