After you have done many things during the day, you may feel so tired that you just can’t do anything more. In such a situation, trying to fall asleep might be almost impossible.
Usually, this means that you have a lack of energy. You would like to sleep, but for some reason, you just can’t. Luckily there are many ways to fall asleep even when you are too tired. Follow these steps and try to apply them to settle down.
First, your situation is probably different from mine or different from anyone else’s. That is why there is no one guaranteed trick or tip to fall asleep when you are too tired.
However, when you scroll down and read these tips, you can pick some of them and give them a shot. That is how you are going to fall asleep much more naturally, even when you feel that you are exhausted.
So what helps you to fall asleep when you feel too tired?
What you can do NOW
If you are struggling with this problem right now and want to fall asleep as fast as possible, steps 1 to 10 are just for you:
1. Keep it cool
Too hot or even too cold is not an ideal environment for sleeping. Especially a bedroom that’s too hot may keep you awake and cause sweating.
Set the temperature so that your bedroom is cool enough. Even so, make sure that you won’t freeze. Don’t use bed covers that are too thick. To avoid sleeping problems, you need to feel as comfortable as possible when planning to sleep. When it’s cool in your room, it’s pleasant for you to sleep.
2. Breath deep
When you settle down to your bed, and you notice that your heart beats fast and you are restless, it may be better to try some breathing exercises.
Breath in deep through your nose and hold your breath for a few seconds. Then, slowly breathe out through your mouth. Continue until you feel relaxed. You might also want to test some other breathing exercises.
3. Stretch your legs
When you feel too tired, your body may feel stiff and tired. If your body and mind are both rigid or stuck, your changes to fall asleep might be low. It feels like you can’t even move, and you are hopeless.
To relax and get rid of stiffness, you may need to stretch your body. Start with your legs. Raise your legs a little bit and flex your ankles, turning your toes upwards towards your head. Keep it like that for a few seconds (maybe 15-30 seconds, if it feels good for you) and then let your legs relax.
Do this again for a few times. Then, do the same with other parts of your body, first tensing, and then relaxing your muscles. Raise your shoulders and keep them up some time and relax them. This way, your body will relax, and after that, your mind can relax too, making it is much easier to fall asleep.
4. Count backwards (sheep or just numbers)
If your thoughts are keeping you awake too long, it is better to try to do something. You might worry about many things, and it is usually the reason why you are awake at night, especially when you are very tired.
Counting backwards can help. Choose any random number (the bigger, the better), say “10.000”, and start counting down. Also, for example, you can try to repeat the same number (or why not any other word) over and over again. Just focus on counting or repeating and make sure that your thoughts do not start running around. Keeping your thoughts focused in the counting may help you to fall asleep even if you feel tired.
5. Block all noises
Noises can cause overtiredness. But especially if you are too tired and you want to sleep, it is crucial to block all unwanted sounds which can keep you awake or interrupt your sleeping.
Earplugs are used as sound blocking aids. You can also use some earplug alternatives for sleeping, such as a white noise machine or a noise canceling headphones. Anyway, you may listen to some music at the same time if you feel that it would be helpful. Choose instrumental music, as it may be more helpful than music with lyrics, where your mind might start focusing on the words.
6. Take a shower
Keeping your mind clear and not worrying too much may be harder if you feel sweaty or otherwise not feeling good. There might be some mental load on you which needs to be “washed away”.
Taking a shower may relax you because you feel fresh and clean and that is why you can think clearly again. Also, your overtired body may get more relaxed during the shower, and going to sleep is then much easier.
7. Take a bath
Washing all the dirt that has collected on you during the day might be more relaxing and pleasant to do by taking a bath in a bathtub.
If you are one of those lucky ones who have a bathtub in your home, it is an easy solution for relaxation for you! If you don’t have your own bathtub, you can pick a hotel room which provides a bathtub, and then you may enjoy a relaxing and restoring mini holiday.
8. List of tasks
One reason why you feel too tired is probably that you have so many things in mind. Things that you have done (you also may feel that you didn’t succeed well enough in those tasks) and things that you should do. Keeping all this in mind won’t usually help you to fall asleep.
It is good to write down what you should do next day or write a list of things that you need to do during a longer period. When those things are written down, you don’t need to think about them anymore. You can focus on just relaxing. Next day when you do those tasks you will notice how much more easier it is when you don’t have to keep everything in your mind.
9. Switch off
Scrolling through your phone, typing on your laptop or even watching TV may cause a mental treadmill that is hard to end. If you use some electronic devices all the time, it may be hard to settle down and calm down before you want to sleep.
Then, let your hands-free and do something else. Go outside and get some fresh air, or go to the gym. Do something that keeps your body active. When you are active, it makes you naturally tired in the evening. Try to limit the time you use your electronic devices so that you don’t use them for a couple of hours right before you should fall asleep.
10. Read a book
When you feel exhausted, and your stress level is high, you may need to cut it off. Getting your thoughts out of all the stressful things might be much easier when reading a book.
Reading an actual physical book is usually better than reading something from your mobile device if you want to fall asleep. However, if you have a mobile device with a good screen dimmer, it might be possible to read that way too without interfering with falling asleep.
Preparations you can do soon
The steps 11 to 23 you might not be able to do tonight, but you can start these tomorrow:
11. Add more comfort
Feeling miserable and stressful all the day makes you feel uncomfortable. It may not get any easier if you sleeping facilities are not comfortable enough.
You should be able to feel as comfortable as possible when you want to fall asleep. Therefore, your bed should be soft (but not too soft) if you think it makes it easier to fall asleep. Your bed cover and pillow should also be right to fit your preferences.
12. Avoid caffeine
Coffee or other drinks with caffeine can have an impact on your alertness level. Caffeine is a good way to start your day when you want to feel refreshed, and it can keep you awake during the daytime.
But if you feel that you are too tired at night, you should avoid drinking coffee late in the evening. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, it would be better to stop drinking any caffeine products in the afternoon. When you find out what is the best time for you to stop drinking coffee, you can find the right schedule to drink coffee to avoid getting overtired.
13. Don’t smoke
Smoking is terrible for you in many ways. It can raise your stress level so much that smoking itself can make you feel too tired. However, many people think that smoking is relaxing when they feel stressed.
If you want to sleep and not feel overtired in the evening, you should avoid smoking, and preferably stop smoking entirely. Nicotine (along with other substances in the cigarette) is very harmful, and it may cause many serious health issues. Smoking can affect your sleeping negatively, especially if you smoke a lot. If this is your problem, you might want to find professional help in order to quit smoking. It may take a while until your sleeping gets better, but it’s worth it.
Keep up a good routine in your daily life. Yes, it’s easy to say but may be hard to apply! If you don’t have any routine, your daily schedule may go quickly out of the track. It may cause that you do too many things during the day and you won’t notice how overtired you are until the end of the day.
Keeping up a good routine can help you to avoid doing too many things during the day. Decide which time you will wake up and which time you will go to sleep. Decide what happens during the day. Don’t schedule too many things during the day. Keep breaks and, if possible, take a good rest from time to time.
15. Go outside
If you work inside all day in it might be stressful, and your mind gets on overdrive easily. You may also feel that you don’t get enough natural light if you stay inside. To end this spiral, you need to do something else.
When it is possible, always head outside. If you work inside, go outside during every break you have. After work, stay outside if possible. On the weekends, go out to enjoy nature. Whenever it is possible, stay outside and do some activities. That is how your stress level stays down, and you get naturally tired, making it easier to fall asleep at night.
16. Keep your stress level low
Many things cause stress, and that causes overtiredness. Working a long day or even working overtime might raise your stress level. If there are a lot more things that you need to take care of, it is not good for your health, and you may feel very easily stressed.
To avoid a high-stress level, you should prune all the additional causes of stress from your life. Sometimes it might be hard to figure out how many useless things you are doing every day. Do you really need to do so much work? Do you really need to have so many hobbies which take so much time that your quality of sleep might suffer? Even some little changes may help you to lower your stress level, and then you may not be as tired that you used to be.
Especially if you feel too tired during the day, you need a solution for that. A crappy, overtired feeling during the daytime doesn’t help you to be active or productive.
Therefore, it is good to take some time just to relax and take a nap. If you feel that you won’t fall asleep during the daytime, then just take it easy and relax, with no pressure to fall asleep. It might be that if you continue this kind of relaxing habit, you may someday fall asleep even during the day. After napping (don’t nap for longer than 15 minutes!) you may feel more productive, and you can focus on your work or any other things you need to do.
The too tired feeling may be caused by being inactive or not moving enough. Nowadays, work is often done inside, sitting in front of the computer. That may cause sleeping problems because you won’t get naturally tired.
Therefore, do some exercises always when it is possible. Even during your workday, you may find many opportunities to do some exercises. Use the breaks to do activities that can keep you in good shape. Do some light exercises at home. It would be best if you can go out and have a workout that really makes you sweat.
19. Decide when to worry
If you usually worry a lot, your thoughts may interrupt your sleeping. You may feel too tired just because of all the worries. You may have stress from work. You may have personal difficulties.
Therefore, it is good to set a specific time when you allow yourself to worry. Just limit it to a maximum 15 minutes per day. But don’t let it be in the evening, right before when you are planning to sleep. If possible, schedule some time during the day for that. Decide that you don’t worry at any other time. Then you won’t feel worried when you want to fall asleep.
If you can’t sleep at all, or if you are so overtired all the time that you are feeling extremely terrible, it is better to see a therapist. Sometimes you just can’t fix your sleeping problems by yourself, especially if you feel overtired.
There are many benefits for seeing a therapist. It may be that you have tried many different sleeping tips and tried your best to avoid any harmful activities. Still, it might be that the only way to solve your problems is to hear some professional advice. Better to get a solution soon, than waste your time suffering without a reason.
21. Eat right
Sleeping and eating go hand-in-hand. If you eat randomly and you have a lot of stress, that combination may cause sleeping problems.
Schedule your eating right away. Start the day with a good, healthy and filling breakfast. Eat a healthy lunch and dinner. Don’t eat so much anymore in the evening. Focusing on eating earlier during the daytime gives you energy, and it makes you sleepy in the evening. You won’t feel too tired if you have a good balance between eating and physical activity during the day. That is how you can much easier to fall asleep at night.
Light keeps us awake. Of course, we need light during the daytime. But when it is time to sleep, any light may interrupt these intentions. This includes “blue light”, which is produced, for example, by mobile device screens.
Keeping your bedroom entirely dark may be hard. Curtains need to cover enough, and especially the edges of windows should be covered. All other light sources should be blocked. For example, light from chargers, electronic clocks or a blinking fire alarm in the ceiling might be surprisingly disturbing. Therefore, if there are no other options, get a sleep mask. If you have a bad sleep mask it won’t help too much, so check out these ones and get one if you feel it would be useful for your purposes.
23. Go to see your doctor
If you feel that this problem continues for a long period of time, and you can’t find any help by yourself, it is time to go to see your doctor. There might be something that you can’t do by yourself, and if you try to solve this problem without professional help, it may get even worse.
Your doctor has experience from treating other people who have faced similar problems, and that is why he or she might find an easy solution for your case. Your doctor may also send you to see a specialist who knows a lot of more about sleeping problems and how to fix the problem when you are too tired but can’t fall asleep.