After a long day of school, a long night at the studio, a quick dinner and some homework, you finally crawl into bed at 10 PM, totally exhausted.
But then it’s 10:30, and you’re still up.
Then it’s 11:45. Still up.
Soon, it’s 2 AM and you’re still tossing and turning — with just a few precious hours of potential shut-eye left before you have to get up and start the whole routine over again.
Whether you suffer from insomnia or you’re just super stressed and can’t seem to doze off, here are a few things to do when you just can’t seem to get into a REM cycle.
1. Try to get to bed at the same time every night.
Establishing a set bedtime schedule — brush teeth, quick stretch, moisturize, kiss puppy, get into bed — will help you wind down and relax, setting the tone for a peaceful night’s sleep.
2. Resist the urge to lie in bed scrolling Snapchat.
We know: Everyone does it. (Guilty!) But that bright light from your phone is keeping your brain awake and alert instead of helping it settle down.
3. Write a to-do list for the next day before you get into bed.
Otherwise, you’ll get into bed and will immediately think about all the things you need to do in the morning. Write your list of pending tasks before you crawl under the covers so you can chill out once you’re horizontal.
4. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime.
This includes coffee, soda, tea, hot chocolate, or any other sneaky sources of caffeine, which will have you buzzing rather than slumbering.
5. Try meditating or deep breathing.
Forget counting sheep. If you really can’t get your brain to calm down, try meditating. If you’re new to meditating, cue up a guided meditation with an app like Headspace. (Or, if you’re a meditation pro, ditch the app and go through your own meditative process.)
6. Don’t eat a big dinner right before you go to bed.
This can be hard when you only have a 10-minute gap between when you get home from the studio and when you want to get all your homework done and get to bed. But going to bed with a full stomach means your body has to work harder to digest the food you’ve eaten all night — not an ideal state of rest!
7. Dim the lights before you head to bed.
Bright lights keep you alert. Make your bedtime a sleepy haven where you can relax before you settle down for the night. Other ways to make for a dreamy nighttime: take a warm bath before getting into bed, put fresh sheets on your bed so you feel extra cozy and clean, and use the bathroom one last time. There’s nothing like getting comfortable only to lie there stirring and wondering if you should’ve gone again.