What to Do When You Can’t Sleep

Getting some rest is the best, but sleepless nights are always in sight. Here’s what to do if you just can’t get yourself to fall asleep.

4 mins read

Have you ever had those nights where you just can’t get comfortable in bed? You toss and turn, flip over to the cold side of the pillow, get a glass of water, and so on. You try everything, but you just can’t seem to fall asleep.

Well it’s not just you. We’ve all been there before, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. And not being able to fall asleep when we want can make us feel more tired in the morning, which can ruin our productivity and decrease our mood.

Sleep is important, but falling asleep can be tough. There are some reasons why that happens, and since it’s so common, there are a ton of techniques that are sure to make you catch more zzz’s than you can count!

Reasons Why You’re Not Sleeping

There are plenty of things that are likely to keep you up at night. If you’ve been struggling to fall asleep, you’re definitely not alone. Here are a few of the most common reasons.


Not sleeping is stressful in itself, and stress might be the reason why you’re not sleeping! This never ending loop is one of the most common reasons for insomnia.

When you feel stressed, your body activates its autonomic nervous system and ignites the fight or flight response. This is your body’s natural way of preparing to run away from danger or confront it head on. If you’ve ever been attacked by a goose (hopefully you haven’t), this is what makes you feel that rush of adrenaline that gives you the gusto to run far, far away.

The stress response increases your heart rate and blood pressure which also heightens your alertness. This is the opposite of what you want when going to bed. So if you have unresolved stress when your head hits the pillow, it’s likely that you won’t be falling asleep any time soon.

Poor Sleeping Habits

Your body has its own internal clock called a circadian rhythm that responds to environmental cues and interacts with the brain to let you know what your body needs. It’s why you start to feel hungry at the same lunchtime and dinner time most days.

Our circadian rhythm is responsible for our sleep-wake cycle. During the day, daylight signals general alertness to keep you awake. When it’s dark, it will do the opposite. Your circadian rhythm will align sleep and wakefulness with day and night so that you can have a stable and restorative rest.

The problem is that this rhythm is specific and can be thrown off easily. If you have inconsistent bedtimes, your body will be unable to adjust its own sleep schedule to ensure that you’re getting a fully beneficial night’s rest. If you go to bed at 3am even just one night, you might have trouble going to sleep any earlier the night after.

Diet and Exercise

What you do while you’re awake can have a big effect on your sleep! Diet, exercise, and sleep are very closely intertwined.

If you eat a huge dinner right before bed, you might feel uncomfortably bloated and full. This can make it hard to feel relaxed while in bed. Similarly, spicy foods can lead to heartburn, and caffeine can keep you energized all through the night.

As for exercise, working out regularly can lead to a more restful sleep, especially if you work out in the morning. If you’re living a fairly sedentary lifestyle, it might make it much more difficult for you to fall asleep.


Physical pain can also prevent you from falling asleep. If you have achy joints, you might continually focus on the discomfort instead of focusing on falling asleep. Try using a pain relief cream if this might be impeding a good night’s rest. You can also get in touch with your doctor if you find that even OTC painkillers won’t relieve that nagging sharp pain. 

How To Fall Asleep Easier

If you’ve identified exactly why you’re not falling asleep, it can make it that much easier to start trying to fix the issue! Here are some tips and tricks to get you counting sheep instead of counting minutes.

Relaxation Response

You read about the stress response, which is what happens when you’re chased by a goose (they’re very scary). But the relaxation response is the complete opposite feeling. It’s a feeling of calmness and tranquility. Eliciting a relaxation response is the most powerful tool in trying to fall asleep.

There are a number of different relaxation techniques, so one might work a bit better for you than it may for someone else.

Deep breathing exercises are a great, easy way to feel relaxed. This brings your breathing to a slow, gentle pace that subsequently lowers your heart rate. If you’re having a restless night, try closing your eyes, laying on your back, and taking a deep inhale through your nose. Try inhaling for a total of 10 seconds.

Then, release the breath through your mouth, gently exhaling for another 10 seconds. Repeat this over and over until you start to feel peaceful and calm. You might even fall asleep before you even realize.

While breathing, you can also try guided imagery, which means that you visualize relaxing and serene environments as you take your breaths. This can heighten the relaxation response. 

You can also try something called autogenic training, where you concentrate on sensations of warmth, relaxation, and heaviness in certain parts of the body. If you’ve ever meditated, you’ve probably done something like this before. Basically, become hyper aware of specific body parts and manually relax the muscles in each.

Develop a Nighttime Routine

You might not be falling asleep because you haven’t allowed yourself to properly let loose before bed. By creating a routine that works for you, you’ll be able to consistently fall asleep every night.

About a half hour before going to bed, it’s a good idea to put away electronic devices. These emit a blue light that tricks your body’s circadian rhythm into thinking that it’s still daytime. And if  you’re having trouble falling asleep, it’s never a good idea to reach for your phone.

Instead, try reading a really good book before shutting off the lights. Self-help books are especially great because they can give you a sense of peace and balance that might make for a better night’s rest. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you can try reading for another 15 minutes until you start to feel your eyelids weighing down.

You can also try journaling, drawing, or doing a face mask — anything that will let you unwind and feel extra calm before closing your eyes.

Try a Sleep Supplement

If relaxing activities aren’t getting the job done, you can try taking a sleep supplement to biologically make yourself feel sleepy. Melatonin is a popular choice.

Melatonin is a hormone that plays a pivotal role in the sleep wake cycle, and your body produces it naturally. However, melatonin supplements can increase these levels, making you fall asleep extra fast.

The problem with melatonin is that it can interact negatively with certain medications and it can  cause daytime sleepiness during the following day. It shouldn’t be used regularly, but short term use might help with those restless nights.

Another supplement that might help you fall asleep fast is CBD. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, working directly to alleviate feelings of stress and restlessness. In addition, it can make you feel more relaxed and calm, which can lead to more restful sleep.

In addition, CBD can relieve joint pain, restore balance to the immune system, and even more. It’s a safe supplement that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, too, so you’re getting multiple benefits for the price of one.

If you’re tossing and turning, try placing a few drops under your tongue for 30-60 seconds. You’ll feel cool and collected, and you’ll be out like a light in no time at all.

In Conclusion

Sleeping is pretty awesome when we can get our hands on it. It rejuvenates us before the day ahead and lets us have sweet, peaceful dreams. But falling asleep is easier said than done, and there’s nothing worse than tossing and turning into the early hours of the morning.

Stress, diet, exercise, and poor sleeping habits can all play a role in the inability to fall asleep. However, there are a number of techniques that can help.

Practicing the relaxation response is key, as this will counter the negative feelings of the stress response. It’s also important to develop a nighttime routine to help you unwind before bed. And if all else fails, taking a sleep supplement might be just the thing you need to get some shut eye.

Get your beauty sleep with a little help from Smile. Our Unwind CBD Oil relaxes your body and eases you into a chiller headspace with organic CBD, 5-HTP, and melatonin. Smile is committed to getting you the zzz’s you deserve. 


You may also like

 • Around 50% of people will smile back if you smile at them

 • Smiles are a universal sign of happiness

 • It's physically easier to smile than it is to frown

 • Humans can detect smiles from more than 300 feet away