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  • Making the Most of Sleepless Nights: Productive and Calming Activities for Insomnia

    Sleep disruption can be attributed to many factors such as menopause, sleeping with someone who snores, anxiety, depression, pain, or poor sleep routines. The inability to sleep may be temporary such as during a grieving period, or last for years. Whatever the cause, it often leaves people up in the lonely, quiet early morning with nothing to do.

    One method to relieve sleeplessness is to restrict your sleep; rather than fighting for sleep lean into it and get up.  While it is tempting to lie under warm blankets hoping for sleep if you have not fallen asleep within 20 to 30 minutes it is best to get out of bed.

    Here are some activities you can do when you find yourself unable to sleep:

    • Begin the Great Novel You’ve Been Wanting to Write
      Use this quiet time to start writing. Whether it’s a novel, short stories, or even journaling, putting your thoughts on paper can be both productive and therapeutic.
    • Color
      Adult coloring books are a great way to relax and unwind. The repetitive motion can be soothing, and focusing on coloring can help distract your mind from stress.
    • Relaxation Exercises
      Practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery. These exercises can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
    • Knit or Crochet
      Engaging in a repetitive activity like knitting or crocheting can be very soothing. Plus, you’ll have a tangible product to show for your sleepless night.
    • Write
      Whether it’s a journal entry, a letter, or even a to-do list, writing can help organize your thoughts and alleviate anxiety.
    • Drink Herbal Tea
      A warm cup of herbal tea, especially those with chamomile or lavender, can help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
    • Listen to Soft Music
      Create a playlist of calming music. Listening to soft, slow tunes can help you relax and drift back to sleep.
    • Take a Hot Bath
      A warm bath can help relax your muscles and prepare your body for sleep. Adding some Epsom salts or lavender oil can enhance the relaxing effect.
    • Do a Puzzle
      Engage your mind with a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, or Sudoku. This can be a good way to distract yourself and tire your brain.
    • Visualize a Place You’d Like to Visit
      Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful, beautiful place. Visualization can be a powerful tool to help you relax and fall asleep.
    • Warm Milk
      A classic remedy, warm milk can have a soothing effect and help you feel sleepy.
    • Fold the Laundry
      If you have laundry waiting to be folded, this can be a productive yet calming activity to pass the time.
    • Pay Some Bills
      If you’re up and awake, you might as well take care of some responsibilities. Paying bills can help you feel productive.
    • Counting
      Counting backwards, or counting sheep or money can be a simple and effective way to calm your mind. Choose something to count and focus on it.
    • Create a Vision Board
      Use this time to create a vision board with images and quotes that inspire you. This can be a motivating and creative activity.
    • Organize Your Drawers
    • Eat a High-Protein Snack
      Sometimes hunger can keep you awake. A small, high-protein snack can help you feel satiated and ready for sleep.
    • Read a Boring Book
      Keep a boring book by your bedside. Reading something dull can help lull you to sleep.
    • Read Something Inspiring and Calming
      Choose meditations, scriptures, or other inspiring texts to help calm your mind and spirit.
    • Write Your Short and Long-Term Goals
      Use this quiet time to reflect on your goals. Writing them down can help you feel more focused and relaxed.
    • Look at the Stars
      If it’s a clear night, step outside and gaze at the stars. The beauty and vastness of the night sky can be very calming.

    —Your body will let you know when it is time to get back in to bed.  Remember, the key is to choose activities that are calming and avoid anything too stimulating, such as watching TV or using your phone. Finding the right nighttime routine can help improve your overall sleep quality.  If insomnia has not resolved in 2 months consider talking with your Physician in order to identify any underlying problems that are effecting  your sleep.