Can’t Sleep? Dos and Don’ts When You’re Up at Night

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Can’t sleep? Whether you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s a big problem. Discover things to do and not do when you can’t sleep on HealthyPlace.

Can’t Sleep? Dos and Don’ts When You’re Up at Night

Can’t sleep? When sleep eludes us in the middle of the night, it’s highly frustrating. We’re tired. We know that sleep is restorative and an important part of mental and physical health. We want to sleep. But we can’t. We feel tired, but somehow wired, too.

It’s not unusual to experience anxiety when this happens; tension and worry increasing with each tick of the clock. There are ways to deal with middle-of-the-night sleeplessness and anxiety.

When you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, don’t:

  • Constantly look at your clock, worrying that you have to get to sleep immediately because you have to get up soon
  • Turn on the television, your tablet, your phone, or any other electronic device. These are too stimulating
  • Imagine the consequences of lack of sleep; the more you think of the next day’s consequences for being exhausted, the more worked up you’ll become

When you can’t sleep, do:

  • Cover your clock so you can’t watch the numbers advance
  • Turn on a dim light and read something enjoyable or color
  • Practice mindfulness to keep your thoughts and feelings centered; when you catch yourself worrying about tomorrow, take a deep breath and turn your attention to the here-and-now

Sleep is vital for mental health, and you don’t have to destroy your mental health when it eludes you.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, July 23). Can’t Sleep? Dos and Don’ts When You’re Up at Night, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: July 25, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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