14 Dec 2018

What to do when you can’t sleep

The 9 tips to help you reclaim your nights

Everyone at some point has found themselves in bed, wide-eyed and struggling to get to sleep. It can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t sleep at night.

Sleep is such an important part of our ongoing health and well-being, however our modern lives are so jam-packed full of concerns, distractions and to-do lists that it’s no surprise that there will be times when we just can’t seem to nod off.

Here are 9 tips to follow which should help you finally get to sleep each night.

1. Regularity

Your body follows a pattern of circadian rhythms[1] which regulate your internal clock. If you follow a routine of going to bed at the same time each night, it will help regulate this cycle and make it easier to get to sleep quicker.

2. Winding down properly

Your body needs time to transition into sleep mode, so before heading to bed, give yourself an hour to prepare. Practise slowing down your mind by meditating, performing breathing exercises or reading quietly.

3. Exercise

Daily exercise, such as walking, can burn off extra energy and help you get a better night’s sleep[2].

Here is a list of sports that may help you sleep.


4. Darkness matters

Certain light can trigger a state of awakeness in our minds, so it’s important to avoid too much light before bed. This includes the light from our devices, TV and smartphones.

For more information, read Difficulty sleeping: Why darkness matters.

5. Assess your room conditions

Your room can really have an impact on your level of comfort when trying to getting to sleep. So, remove any clutter, excess noise, extreme temperatures and bad odours that may distract you, so that you can feel relaxed and at peace as soon as you enter.

Understanding Your Sleep - ResSleep

6. Your bed

It seems obvious, but your bed makes a big difference when trying to get to sleep. Ensure that your mattress and your pillows are sufficiently supportive to make you feel comfortable. If you’re still struggling to feel at ease, grab another pillow or add an extra blanket and see if they make a difference.

7. What to avoid

Heavy meals, caffeine[3] and excessive alcohol late at night can cause your body to be stimulated as it spends energy trying to process and digest, which can make it difficult to relax.


8. Reset and try again

If you’re lying in bed, wide awake and becoming increasingly frustrated that you just can’t nod off, get up and head into a different room to do something relaxing such as reading or resting on the couch. You will quickly find that the change in environment will make you drowsy, to which you can take yourself back off to sleep again.

9. Seek further help

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, it could indicate a more serious sleeping disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. You may wish to undertake a sleep assessment or visit a medical professional to seek further advice. 

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Maintaining quality sleep every night is very important for your overall health and well-being.

If you are experiencing problems sleeping and you are searching for a cure, you can complete our free sleep assessment to better understand how to correct your restful state, wake up fresh and improve your overall health.

The assessment asks you a series of simple questions designed to help you uncover the cause, and the results will be conveniently sent to you via an email.

You can access the Sleep Assessment here.

Take ResSleep's FREE sleep assessmentGet a better understanding of your sleep issues with a free sleep assessment.


  1. Light, Sleep, and Circadian Rhythms: Together Again. PLOS Journal. http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1000145
  2. Walking for good health. Victoria State Government. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health
  3. Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3 or 6 Hours before Going to Bed. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29198